Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Proverbs 31: 10-12 Excellent!

“Make good choices!” This is one of the mottos in my classroom, because it is so important that these kids choose wisely in areas that they can control. I tell them to choose good friends, who encourage them to be the best they can be. I tell them to choose to be good students - do homework, listen actively in class, participate. And I tell the girls to choose to marry a nerd! Nerds make great husbands (I know ‘cuz I married one). They have a great sense of humor, they usually make a good living, and they will cherish you!

So, I can totally relate here with Lemuel’s mother, who wants the very best for her boy! She is trying to persuade him that there is only one kind of girl worthy of him: the “excellent wife” (English Standard Version) or “virtuous woman” (King James Version).

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. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

In the verses that follow, we will see a list that elaborates on the type of women a man should seek, but the primary attribute is that she is “excellent” or “virtuous.” I looked up virtuous in the dictionary and it said “morally excellent; chaste; pure.” So, even though many of us will read the remaining verses and think that her worth is in all of the things she DOES, the reality is that the number one quality is in who she IS. She is a woman who makes decisions based on a moral foundation. She has made a choice to keep herself pure for her husband.

The world would scoff at this one, but it goes to the heart of who this woman wants to please: God. A woman who can stand against the overwhelming messages of our modern world and can defend herself against the raging hormones of young men is a woman of strong character who has confidence in her own worth because she knows whose she is. Most would scratch their heads and say with Lemuel’s mother, “Who can find such a girl? She’s more rare than jewels!” The truth is that there are many girls who make the decision to save themselves for their husbands. Our job is to come along side and encourage them!

Such a woman can be trusted by her husband. He knows she has his best interest at heart and will not betray him. This gives him freedom to conduct the rest of his life in confidence and peace, because he knows he has partner who values him. She actively looks for ways to benefit him, to help him develop and grow into the man he was designed to be. She is not competing with him, but complementing him. No wonder purity is the first requirement for Lemuel’s prospective wife in the eyes of his mother. 

Mothers of boys, are you catching this? Remember that the responsibility for keeping girls pure is shared by the boys! They must be taught to respect women and to value purity themselves. The double standard of boys “having fun” at the expense of girls is intolerable in God’s eyes. As we begin to look at all that the description of an “excellent wife” encompasses, we need to keep in mind the role of the husband in helping a woman become this wife. And it starts with purity.  

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