We move now to Proverbs 31, which center on being a godly woman. Many are terrified of her and all that she encompasses. Rather than view her through the eyes of fear, we must picture her as God intended. We must understand the context of the verses and the intention of the human author inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him…” (Proverbs 31:1). Many scholars view this proverb to be the instructions that Solomon’s mother gave him as he was growing up in anticipation of his upcoming sovereignty. When Solomon’s father, King David, passed away, Solomon was the chosen son to take over the throne. Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, instructed him wisely as to what was needed to help him be a sage king. As we read through the first nine verses, we see specific instructions regarding alcohol, the poor, the needy, righteous judgment, and women.
Bathsheba knew what would tear down a kingdom and what would make a nation rise to greatness. Solomon began his reign following his mother’s advice. When God came to him in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” (I Kings 3:5). Solomon’s response to God was neither for riches or power but instead he said, “Give your servant therefor an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (I Kings 3:9). God rewarded Solomon generously with wisdom, power, riches, and a long life. His reign was prosperous! Unfortunately, what started out well did not finish well.
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women…he had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father… So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.” (I Kings 11:1-6).
It was not Solomon’s advisors and friends who turned his heart away from God. It was women. As women we have great power to influence our husbands, our children, and many others we rub shoulders with on a daily basis. Proverbs 31 was not written by King Lemuel’s mother as a mere suggestion. As we can see, these were principles that Bathsheba intended Solomon to follow throughout his entire life. Sadly, he did not.
As the saying goes, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” As King Solomon’s heart was turned away from God, so too country of Israel followed in his steps. So then why do we as women discount our responsibilities? Why do we diminish the role we play in the lives of those around us? Why do we shortchange ourselves into thinking that we cannot become all God asked us to be? I cannot answer any of these questions for anyone other than myself.
I agree with Paul in Romans 7:19 “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Since this is the curse, what is the cure? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).
We tend to get overwhelmed with doing worthy things and we forget the source of the good that God wants us to accomplish. I have been in this state for too long. I was so busy doing the work of God, I forgot the main reason I was to be doing this work – love for God. Trying to be the Proverbs 31 woman on my own strength left me exhausted. Thankfully, God is patient.
One of my favorite sayings is, “if you aim for nothing, you hit it every time.” We must have goals, and I see Proverbs 31 as a goal. We will never be the perfect mom or the perfect wife, but as we love God and seek Him we can come closer to the ideal woman in Proverbs 31. We must try and strive to be all God intended. Without this as aour primary goal, we have no target and nothing to aim for. “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we reap if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9).