Proverbs 31 – The Excellent Wife

Image   The following article is actually from an email sent to me by a friend. I want to share this because I find this very encouraging and uplifting. Certainly, if there was any model for us to strive after, it would be The Excellent Wife of Proverbs 31.

I really do not know the original source of this article or who wrote it. Do let me know if you know.

Proverbs 31:10-11 (NASB)

An excellent wife who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

And he will have no lack of gain.

COMMENTARY:

These are the opening verses of the passages describing the famed “Proverbs 31 woman.” In context, this is the description of an excellent wife. The characteristics of an excellent wife include the following:

she is committed to her husband’s success (v12,23),

she is cheerful in her work (v13),

she considers her household’s needs as her first priority (v14-15,21,27),

she is thoughtful (v16),

she takes care of herself physically (v17),

she has a mind for business (v18,24),

she is optimistic (v25),

she is dignified (v25),

she is hard-working and well-organized (v27),

she is wise and kind (v26),

she has a heart for the needy (v20), and

she fears the Lord (v30).

Such a woman cannot be found like a material possession, “for a prudent wife is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:14). It is interesting to note that the pattern in Scripture always has God bringing the woman to the man, and not the other way around. Eve was brought to Adam (Genesis 2:22); Rebekah was brought to Isaac (Genesis 24:15,63); Rachel was brought to Jacob (Genesis 29:9), and even the bride of Christ – the church – is brought to the bridegroom – Jesus – one member at a time by the Father (John 6:44).

When a man totally trusts (also rendered “relies on”) the wife God has given him, he will have no lack of gain. The NIV says he will lack nothing of value. The KJV says he will have no need of spoil, in other words he will have everything he needs, he will have his full portion (Proverbs 30:8).

APPLICATION:

I believe that God has a designated financial “portion” for every household, and this principle teaches that a man will receive his total portion if he trusts his wife, if he relies upon her in these business and financial matters. He will have no lack of the success, of the financial gain, apportioned to him by God. It is not wise to want more than our designated portion, nor is it wise to want less (Proverbs 30:8-9; 10:22).

I know that this aspect of God’s created order in the family – the wife as the divine helpmate of the husband – is unpopular in our culture, even within the church. There is no doubt that this is what the Bible clearly teaches (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Peter 3:7), but I believe this teaching is widely misunderstood. Do not confuse “roles” with “value”. The wife is no less equal with her husband in God’s eyes than Jesus is equal with the Father in terms of divine nature (Colossians 1:15). Yet, like Jesus submitted to the will of the Father while on his earthly mission (Mathew 26:42), so must a woman submit to the will of the Father to be her husband’s help mate on her earthly mission. It is a matter of “role”, not “value”.

The way that a husband relies upon his wife in business and financial matters is to seek and listen to her counsel regarding these matters. The Bible says that man’s divine help mate is uniquely suitable for him – meaning that she is the perfect complement to him in terms of personality, skills and talents, and spiritual gifts. Therefore, it stands to reason that if the husband tries to rely upon his abilities only, he is not taking advantage of all the resources that God has provided. And if that is the case, no wonder so many men miss out on God’s designated portion, and bring unnecessary trouble upon their households and themselves.

Men, ask your wives for counsel regarding decisions at work. Ask her to pray about them – which job to take, which person to hire, which company to do business with, etc. You’ll be amazed at her insight. Make it your practice to never proceed with a plan of action if your wife does not have a peace about it. But, of course, always go to the Lord with your wife’s counsel. We have a useful example in Scripture of the importance of this last point. Note the difference in outcomes when Abraham took his godly wife Sarah’s counsel to the Lord (God affirmed it and things worked out for good-Genesis 21:12), and the time he did not (both he and the nation of Israel suffered severe consequences-Genesis 16:2).

Some of you men are thinking, “But, my wife is not excellent – she does not fear the Lord, she is committed to her own career over mine, she shows no interest in my business matters.” My response is that one way to help her become an excellent wife is to start treating her like one. Peter writes that husbands should live with their wives in an understanding way, granting them honor as co-heirs (they are equal partners in everything you do, including business), so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7) Are you prayers for business success going unanswered? Make sure you are treating your wife as the co-heir, as your business partner, as the primary counselor that God designed and equipped her to be.

Wives, do you want the heart of your husbands to trust in you? Well, ask God to help you become an excellent wife to him. It is interesting to note that the “Proverbs 31 woman” was also a successful business woman in her own right, but she had her priorities straight regarding her God-given primary obligations to her husband, her children and to her household. And when he asks for counsel, you have a responsibility to give godly counsel – counsel from the Spirit of God rooted in the

Word of God – not your opinion or the desires of your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)