6/12/13 - PTC_Proverbs 31 - "An Excellent Wife"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
Proverbs 31:10-12 & 31 (ESV)
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
As expected I'm going to focus my thinking on my wife! Ha! On our last Priority Time reading in Proverbs we have the opportunity to look at the outline of "an excellent wife" also known as a "Proverbs 31 woman."
Verse 10 frames the discussion for us, we are looking at an "excellent wife." As he writes this he makes sure the reader know that an excellent wife is rare. Men and women both need to dial in here. Women, an "excellent wife" (according to the standards of God's word) is a rare find. This means that if you choose to be an excellent wife - you must do what most women choose not to do. You must take the narrow path. You must trust God enough to be weird in comparison to your friends.
Men, an "excellent wife" (according to the standards of God's word) is a rare find. This means if you find an excellent wife, you must treat her with the highest value. The fact, that the lion share of this chapter is basically a man praising his wife indicates the value he places upon her. He is sure not to take her for granted. We do not see a case of a male dominated home. We see a very capable and confident wife who has gained the overwhelming praise of her husband. Men, do not think that having an excellent wife is completely up to her. Excellent women value themselves enough to marry men who honor excellence. If you are single and want an "excellent wife," you need to cultivate a strength and confidence that allows your wife to flourish within your marriage.
"She is far more precious than jewels"
He finds his greatest riches in his wife. Men, boy to we need to see this. The greatest wealth you can have is an excellent wife. This is why you create and live by boundaries at work - your greatest wealth is in your home. Because she is so valuable to you, you protect her, honor her and keep her.
"The heart of her husband trusts in her"
Wives, this points to the value you bring your husband. An excellent wife can be trusted. He can leave his home in her care and have no concern. It's a deep seeded trust "in his heart." He is fully confident in her. I can honestly say, this is how I feel with Amanda. Amanda is not a weak or needy wife. She is capable. I don't worry about her. I certainly care for her and consider her safety and security my top priority, however her strength is obvious. When I get up and leave for the day, I know she has our crazy family under control. I don't worry. This is a gift I cannot begin to explain.
"she does him good and not harm"
Wives, here the definition of "excellent" continues. She is always doing him good. One of the marks of a great marriage is the focus on the good of one another without being asked. Here we see the "excellent wife" constantly doing her husband good. This indicates that she finds joy in making his life good. She sees his needs and even wants and is quick to do good. Yes, I think we can apply this universally across married life from household chores to the sexual intimacy a couple shares. The last phrase, "all the days of her life" indicates her lifelong commitment to her husband. She is faithful in every way. No flirting with other men. No selfish rants. No whining. No threats of leaving. No demands of her own way. She is committed. With every season of life, she is seeking his good. Isn't this what we see to be the role of the Church. As the Bride of Christ, aren't we to be and "excellent wife" to our Lord? Shouldn't we seek His good all the days of our lives?
Jumping down to verse 31 we see the conclusion of this description of the "excellent wife." "Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." The emphasis in this verse is on the husband first, the children second and the community third. Husbands, the world around us take its cues from YOU as to how to esteem your wife! This husband knows he has a good thing! He gives her the fruit of her hands. He doesn't see her as his wife-slave. He sees her as an ambitious woman, gifted by God and is eager to bless her. He wants her efforts to bless her. Men, your wife needs to feel the fruit of her labor. This may come in the form of actual compensation or reward of some sort. It definitely comes in the form of gratitude and praise. She should feel her work matters whether in the marketplace or in the home.
In this context, the setting is a woman who is a stay-at-home wife and mother. In this culture, there were very few working women outside the home. So, the husband took it upon himself to praise her works in the public arenas (gates). He is proud of her and can't help but praise his excellent wife. You get the feeling that he truly believes he's got a rare thing. He talks about her with such pride that other men are jealous. This husband is responding to a rare woman with exceptional honor. There isn't a hint of betrayal, rejection, lack of appreciation, manipulation or abuse in him. He lives to honor her.
This is how it should be, folks. Can you imagine a marriage where honor is the constant theme? Husbands, can you imagine a wife who focuses on your good - all the days of her life!? Wives, can you imagine a husband who cannot stop praising you and blessing you!? This is our model.
Let's get real…
Do you honor your spouse as we see outlines in Proverbs 31?
Husbands, what is one thing you can do to foster an environment of security and safety for your wife?
Wives, what is one thing you can do to do good to your husband?
I know that there is a selfish streak in you that resists making these kinds of changes. I know that the first reaction is "i will if they will." Everyone is waiting on their spouse to go first. Here's an idea - you go first. God has designed marriage to be most fulfilling when we let go of our demands and simply give our best to our spouse. It takes faith because there is no guarantee that they will respond and do their part. Just remember, nothing changes until something changes. It just might be time for you to change.
God, I pray for marriages today. I pray for the countless defeated wives and husbands who feel a great marriage isn't possible. I pray you restore their hope and make a way for couples to give without strings attached. I pray that you cause couples to quit keeping score and make honor a goal for marriage they are passionate about! Lord, convict wives who are not "excellent" to surrender their pride and selfishness and bring excellence into their marriages. I pray that husbands will not take for granted their wives. I pray a fresh sense of gratitude would form and be a source of life and strength to marriages. Thank you for Amanda. I am overwhelmed by the "excellent wife" I have found. It feels unfair. Please help me make sure my sons recognize the value of their mother. I pray they will rise up and call her blessed. I pray that today you cause her to feel valued and loved. I pray you use her to inspire other wives to become "excellent."
Follow Andy on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @makesense