Today’s Reading: Proverbs 14-20, 31
Instruct the wise, and they will be wiser.
Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. – Prov. 9:9
This morning, as I again sit at the feet of wise King Solomon and share my morning coffee with the Lord, I find myself asking for wisdom – for insight and understanding. Solomon speaks in Proverbs of several different kinds of women: the immoral woman, the gossip, quarrelsome wife, the understanding wife and the virtuous woman.
Rather than going down the straight path designed by God, the immoral woman is described as caring nothing for the path of life but instead staggering down a crooked trail. Her lips appear sweet as honey, her speech smoother than oil, but in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword (5:3-6). Solomon warns his readers to avoid the trap she lays, for sexually immorality will lead to destruction. It is like playing with a flame on your lap, hoping that your clothes will not catch on fire (6:27).
Drink water from your own well – share your love only with your wife…
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love. – Proverbs 5:15,18-19
O my son, give me your heart.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful. – Prov. 23:26-27
And then there is the woman who loves to gossip, using her mouth to seduce the mind of others – to influence them to think negatively of others. She goes around telling secrets (11:13), planting seeds of strife and separating the best of friends (16:28). So don’t hang around with these chatterers (20:19). Only wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip and liars pay special attention to this slander (17:4). A gossiping tongue causes anger (25:23) and ruins reputations, including that of the person gossiping (25:10). When we listen to rumors, we allow them to sink deep into our heart (26:22).
Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. – Proverbs 26:20
It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. – Prov. 21:19
These are both pretty powerful proverbs to digest in my morning coffee today. But my heart desires to be an understanding wife and not one who uses my words to gossip, quarrel or complain. It is good for me to listen closely to the wisdom of King Solomon. This is how he describes the quarrelsome wife:
It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home (25:24)…A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands. – Prov. 27:15-16
Ouch! That is definitely not who I want to be. Yes, King Solomon, I will listen to this advice:
Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. – Prov. 21:23
Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. – Proverbs 19:14
That is who I want to be – an understanding wife that my husband sees as a gift from the Lord. King Solomon ended his book of Proverbs with the description of just such a wife – the virtuous wife.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy…
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. – Proverbs 31:10-31