This is Episode #204 and today we’ll read Proverbs 30-31 together. Dear God, please help me to be a wife of noble character.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #204 and today we’ll read Proverbs 30-31 together. Dear God, please help me to be a wife of noble character.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
The Words of Agur
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The pronouncement.
The man’s oration to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
I am more stupid than any other person,
and I lack a human’s ability to understand.
I have not gained wisdom,
and I have no knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name,
and what is the name of his son —
if you know?
Neither Poverty Nor Wealth
Every word of God is pure;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Don’t add to his words,
or he will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.
Two things I ask of you;
don’t deny them to me before I die:
Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.
Otherwise, I might have too much
and deny you, saying, “Who is the Lord?”
or I might have nothing and steal,
profaning the name of my God.
Don’t slander a servant to his master
or he will curse you, and you will become guilty.
There is a generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother.
There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
yet is not washed from its filth.
There is a generation — how haughty its eyes
and pretentious its looks.
There is a generation whose teeth are swords,
whose fangs are knives,
devouring the oppressed from the land
and the needy from among mankind.
The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough!”:
Sheol; a childless womb;
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”
Small Yet Extremely Wise
As for the eye that ridicules a father
and despises obedience to a mother,
may ravens of the valley pluck it out
and young vultures eat it.
Three things are too wondrous for me;
four I can’t understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship at sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The earth trembles under three things;
it cannot bear up under four:
a servant when he becomes king,
a fool when he is stuffed with food,
an unloved woman when she marries,
and a servant girl when she ousts her queen.
Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
ants are not a strong people,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
hyraxes are not a mighty people,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in ranks;
a lizard can be caught in your hands,
yet it lives in kings’ palaces.
Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their walk:
a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything;
a strutting rooster; a goat;
and a king at the head of his army.
If you have been foolish by exalting yourself
or if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand over your mouth.
For the churning of milk produces butter,
and twisting a nose draws blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife.
The Words of Lemuel
The words of King Lemuel,
a pronouncement that his mother taught him:
What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb?
What, son of my vows?
Don’t spend your energy on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine
or for rulers to desire beer.
Otherwise, he will drink,
forget what is decreed,
and pervert justice for all the oppressed.
Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter.
Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more.
Speak up for those who have no voice,
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.
Speak up, judge righteously,
and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.
In Praise of a Wife of Noble Character
Who can find a wife of noble character?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.
She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her female servants.
She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.
She draws on her strength
and reveals that her arms are strong.
She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.
She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
Her hands reach out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.
She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts to the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the time to come.
Her mouth speaks wisdom,
and loving instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the activities of her household
and is never idle.
She Who Fears The Lord
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also praises her:
“Many women have done noble deeds,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Give her the reward of her labor,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
My pastor is a marvel when it comes to observing life and drawing lessons from it. The 30th chapter of Proverbs reminds me of him. I would go so far as to say that Hans could have written it…or at least Chapter 30 2.0. Word to the wise though. If we’re gonna be like Pastor Hans, we have to slow down. We can’t just glance at an ant and say, “Yep, that’s an ant,” and then move on. It requires inspection – examination. And that’s difficult to do on the run. Then we have to ask ourselves, “What can I learn from what I am seeing?” Perhaps a better question is, “Lord, what do You want me to learn from what You’re showing me?”
And finally, here we are at Proverbs 31. Perhaps we have to dig a little to find out what it is, but there is something it obviously is not. It is not a check-off list. Check, check, check. Yay! I’m a Proverbs 31 woman. I’m fixed!
In searching, I did discover that I am not alone in my feelings of guilt in not measuring up. Is this you too? But we know God doesn’t intend for us to walk around weighed down by guilt. So, what then?
Rethinking the Standard
Well, I found a short article on desiringgod.org by a lady named Adrien Segal. The piece is called, Who Can Find Her? Rethinking the Proverbs 31 Standard. I came away feeling inspired and affirmed and challenged by what she wrote. She boils down this message into four general characteristics of this woman of noble character whom we all want to be: her fear of the Lord, her dedication to earning the trust of her husband, her work ethic, and her strength and kindness. Her ideas aren’t edgy – quite the opposite – they’re pretty traditional. But I do think she gives some clarity to these verses; a parsing of the most important ideas. I want you to be inspired too, so I put a link to the article in the Show Notes and the transcript on Lifting Her Voice.com. Let me know what you think of what she wrote.
But, if you only take one thing from Proverbs 31, I encourage you to take verse 30: Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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