Beauty, strength, wisdom, and a really cool lasso. The Wonder Woman of the comics is impressive. But I think the Wonder Woman of Proverbs 31 can take her. The Proverbs 31 woman is formidable is her strength and her character. Her ability to create trust and respect sets her above all others. (Although she would welcome the Lasso of Truth to help with the kids.)
Welcome back to Faith in the Valley. At Wakefield Valley Bible Church, where I pastor, we are studying Marriage and Family. This is the fifth lesson on that subject.
Our first podcast episode on Marriage and Family is episode 19. In that lesson, we looked at the foundational truths of marriage and family. We then studied the seriousness of marriage. Sadly, for many, marriage has become a joke. But not for God.
The last two lessons have focused on men – dads and husbands. Today we will shift our focus to that of women, especially wives and mothers. As with husbands and fathers, I want to first determine the biblical responsibilities of wives and mothers.
Responsibilities of Old Testament Women
According to Andreas J. Kostenberger in God, Marriage, and Family, there are three responsibilities.
- to present her husband with children
- to manage the home
- to be a companion to the husband
God values women the same as men. Both men and women are equal in God’s eyes because both are image bearers.
A virtuous wife is very difficult to find. Their value exceeds worldly wealth.
A husband can fully trust a virtuous wife.
A wife and mother should focus her work on the betterment of her family. She can do this working at home or even outside of the home.
A wife should love her work. She should find joy in serving her family.
A wife should manage the home in such a way that it runs with efficiency.
Proverbs 31:10-31 is a poem. It follows two structures. One, the entire passage is an alphabetic acrostic poem. We cannot see this form in English. The other structure spans verses 20-27. This structure is called a chiasm.
Gotquestions.org defines a chiasm as “A chiasm is a literary device in which a sequence of ideas is presented and then repeated in reverse order. The result is a ‘mirror’ effect as the ideas are ‘reflected’ back in a passage.” For a more detailed explanation go to the resources section below and follow the gotquestions.org link.
Proverbs 31:20-27 is in an A,B,C,D,X,D’,C’,B’,A’ pattern. The X-verse is not reflected back. So, X is the climax of the passage and really the climax of the entire proverb. It answers the all important question, Why does this woman do all of this? Verse 23 is the X-verse
Proverbs 31:23 says, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.”
The NIV gets the right understanding of the verse. “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”
The reason the Proverbs 31 woman does all she does is so that her husband will be respected.
Ephesians 5:33 confirms this teaching. “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” It is the husband’s ultimate responsibility to make sure his wife is loved and it is the wife’s ultimate responsibility to make certain her husband is respected.
When the wife does all she can do to honor her calling, to serve her family, and to see that her husband is respected, she too will be praised.
This woman is praised by her children, her husband, the community, and the Lord.
Great respect is earned when great respect is given.
Some of you may be struggling with this teaching. You are thinking that it is so yesteryear and too simplistic. I understand. But God does not complicate matters of life. He has a simple task for humans – to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth. He designed man and woman with this in mind. And God uses family to accomplish this. A father and a mother doing their bit to fill the earth.
God does not complicate things. We do. But not God.
Another example of this is God’s plan to save you. God wants you to live forever with Him in heaven. But we have made this impossible because we are full of sin. But God had a SIMPLE solution. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for that sin. Because Jesus died our sin problem has been taken care of. All we need to do is to believe that. Then we will be saved.
Romans 10:9 says it simply, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Life can get complicated. But eternal life is simple. Believe that Jesus, God the Son died for your sins. Believe that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Believe that and you will be saved.
I hope that you will believe just that.
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God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger and David Jones
What is a Chiasm/Chiastic Structure in the Bible?