Ladies, I want to help you lose a burden you weren’t meant to carry. But first, you need to take a minute and read Proverbs 31:10-31. Done? Okay, let’s talk.
Do you feel the weight? Few women read this passage without guilt. Many are under the impression that they must live out this example to be a worthwhile wife. “Wife” guilt morphs into “mommy” guilt and each verse adds a little weight. Stone, upon stone, upon stone, added to the back of over-burdened and exhausted women that are already on an arduous performance treadmill set to maximum incline.
I want to help you take some of that weight off. Ladies, Proverbs 31 isn’t a checklist or a performance guideline for you.
Taken as a whole this list is daunting for any woman to consider as a test of her worth. In the same way, a man would sooner quit looking in despair than find a woman who perfectly fulfills this example. It is not impossible, perhaps, but the text’s meaning is not a litmus test for a mate. Biblical wisdom, here personified as the excellent wife, is what the young man should pursue. He is to pursue a godly wife of diligence, generosity, compassion, because those are traits of Godly wisdom. This personification is against an opposite, also shown in Proverbs; Lady Folly. She leads men astray into sin, passion, and fleeting pleasures and away from the Lord. She seduces, tempts, and encourages sin. Proverbs 9:13-18 reads;
“The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
calling to those who pass by,
who are going straight on their way,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
And to him who lacks sense she says,
“Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
So Who is Lady Wisdom?
Proverbs 1:7 begins with the father teaching the son that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The book of Proverbs then ends with this personification of Lady wisdom in verse thirty, “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This is the chief concern of the author; that biblical wisdom is to be pursued. Using the illustration of the woman of wisdom as the excellent wife, we have a tangible example of godly wisdom to pursue.
She is not a law to be obeyed, but an example to be followed. Just as we are not David, but the cowardly Israelites, you are not to be Lady Wisdom, but the young man who seeks her. Don’t let gender confuse your place in the text. Christ is the perfection of Wisdom we are to seek. Don’t confuse yourself as needing to be that perfection, you can’t. God is perfect wisdom. It is our apprehension of Him and submission to Him that is wise. You will never be perfect; as a wife, as a mother, as a person. But Jesus is.
Perfection through Performance?
We can look at Proverbs 31:10-31 and conclude one implication is the model of a biblical woman. However, If our reading doesn’t start at the meaning of the text, we rob ourselves. We’re starting at what we think we are to do rather than what has been done. We’re always looking for what we can do to be justified, rather than what God the Justifier has done. Do you know who perfectly fulfills the call to Wisdom of the book of Proverbs? Do you know who IS the personification of Wisdom?
In Luke 24 Jesus said that the Old Testament was about Him, and finds its fulfillment in Him.
What I am getting at, then, is that it’s not about us. Our perfection is in Christ, not in our performance. We cannot be perfect in anything, but we sure like to try. Ladies, do not take a yoke you weren’t meant to bear on your necks. You’re pulling a cart of stones you can’t handle. Let us not be Pharisees and load ourselves “with burdens too hard to bear.” Jesus took that yoke for us, and offered us his instead. His yoke is light, and his burden is easy.
Your perfection is in Christ alone.