I’ve always been attracted to the words of Proverbs 31. I find them beautiful, and holy. That’s not to say I haven’t also found them something of a test, something against which I will always be found wanting. I have found them weighty and sometimes to press down on me in this way.
But this week I found a new lightness about them. I noticed more clearly the title of the passage, ‘The Woman who Fears the Lord’ and suddenly saw more of a list of promises and less of a yardstick.
And so with this new lens, I invite you also to pray with these verses looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you, that particularly holds your attention and calls you to linger. Take time to linger in that phrase; write it down; add more words about what God might be saying to you with that word or phrase, what does it mean to you at this time?
And if this chapter still feels more of a yardstick and less of a blessing can I still encourage you to sit with these verses; and perhaps ask God, as you read them, to show you what He sees in you. Perhaps you will find that He already believes these things about you. I pray that God will show you all the ways in which you are a Proverbs 31 woman today.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.