Sunday, September 12, 2010

Proverbs 31

1 The sayings of King Lemuel—an oracle his mother taught him:

2 "O my son, O son of my womb, 

O son of my vows,

3 do not spend your strength on women, 

your vigor on those who ruin kings.

4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel— 

not for kings to drink wine, 

not for rulers to crave beer,

5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, 

and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

6 Give beer to those who are perishing, 

wine to those who are in anguish;

7 let them drink and forget their poverty 

and remember their misery no more.

8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, 

for the rights of all who are destitute.

9 Speak up and judge fairly; 

defend the rights of the poor and needy." 

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find? 

She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her 

and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm, 

all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax 

and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships, 

bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark; 

she provides food for her family 

and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it; 

out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously; 

her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable, 

and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff 

and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor 

and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; 

for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed; 

she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, 

where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, 

and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; 

she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, 

and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household 

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; 

her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things, 

but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned, 

and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Questions to consider:

  • Characterize a “good wife.”
  • How has the study of Proverbs helped you experience wisdom in daily living?
  • To what extent has your conduct been affected? In what specific areas?
  • What specific areas do you see more room to grow and improve?

Possibilities for prayer:

A large portion of this chapter is dedicated to the description of a wife “of noble character.” Of course, we can use these verses to think about our spouses, but I kind of like using these verses to think about our relationship as a church with God. Many of the qualities that are used to describe a good wife can be used to describe the way in which we, as a church community, can and should be going about life. Today, let’s ask God to give us vision to live life in community in much the way this noble woman’s life is described, that the positive characteristics ascribed to her (wisdom, diligence, generosity, and the like) would be ascribed to our community as well.