An Excellent Wife


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King Lemuel asked, “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?” (Proverbs 31:10, NLT) We already saw that the Proverbs 31 woman is a wise person, not a perfect one. Since “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (9:10b, ESV), to become such an excellent woman is to fear the Lord.

Yet, somehow, there are women who feel that they don’t measure up. They may even claim that, since it’s about the search for a queen, they don’t fit the descriptions in verses 10 to 31 (unless they get to marry a king). But, we already pointed it out that it’s not just about choosing a queen but about choosing a wife also.

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Again, let’s read Proverbs 31:10 in another Bible version: “Who can find a virtuous wife?” (Emphasis added, NKJV) The phrase “virtuous wife” can be translated “excellent wife,” “woman of valor,” “worthy woman,” or “a woman of noble character.” It’s interesting that Ruth, the Moabite woman who remained faithful to our God even if she wasn’t Jewish, was also called “a virtuous woman.” (Ruth 3:11, NKJV)
In Jewish tradition, many see Ruth as the flesh-and-blood example of a Proverbs 31 woman. If that’s true, then standing side by side in the pages of Scripture are both a Queen and a homeless woman demonstrating that being a woman of valor has nothing to do with a woman’s circumstances, and everything to do with her character. … Whether a woman is running a palace or trying to find the next meal for her family, if she is a woman of valor, she will live life in a way that reflects Christ to those around her. [1]

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So, even if one does not have royal blood, she (or he) can be virtuous. That it applies to men and not just women is shown in Exodus 18:21 (“Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” Emphasis added.) The word “able” in Exodus 18:21 is from the same Hebrew word used for “virtuous” in Proverbs 31:10. “In Proverbs 31 we find someone who is probably equally a model for men and women as someone who teaches wisdom,” as Dr. Robert Chisholm of the Old Testament department at Dallas Theological Seminary put it. [2]

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Thus, for a marriage to become what God intended it to be, both the husband and the wife must be virtuous.
Just as wisdom is more important than wealth (3:15), so character is more important than jewels. … Marriage doesn’t change a person’s character. If there are character weaknesses in either the husband or the wife, marriage will only reveal and accentuate them. A husband or wife who hopes to change his or her spouse after the honeymoon is destined for disappointment. [3]
Marriage merely reveals the character of the husband and the wife. A virtuous marriage has nothing to do with a couple’s circumstances and everything to do with their character.

“Wise” Step

For the single people, do you live in such a way that reflects Christ to those around you? Pray that God would mold your character. For the couples, what does your marriage reveal about your character? Pray that your marriage would reflect our Lord.

NOTE: This is Day Three of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 10) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message on Becoming a Woman of Impact” last May 10.  In view of the recent Mother's Day celebration, I opted to post this series of devotional guide. Issue 9 will be posted afterwards.

[1] Katherine Alumbaugh (2014, August 19), “The Real Proverbs 31 Woman,” Bible.org Blogs, retrieved from http://blogs.bible.org/. Emphasis added.

[2] Sandra Glahn (2009, April 21), “The Most-Hated Woman in the Bible,” Bible.org Blogs, retrieved from http://blogs.bible.org/. Emphasis added.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Skillful (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1995), 99. Italics his.


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