Proverbs 31:13-18 – My praise for the virtuous women in my life

heart of a shepherdA note from the author/pastor of HeartofAShepherd.com:  Turning to Proverbs 31 as we close out 2014, I remember only seven months have 31 days and I have barely scratched the surface of my commentary on Proverbs 31.   In spite of my effort to complete my study of Proverbs this calendar year, there are several verses in various chapters I have yet to address in my daily commentary in this book.  Having a disdain for anything unfinished, I bear a sense of urgency to complete my expositional journey through Proverbs.   As we stand at the threshold of a New Year, I invite you to continue your daily readings in Proverbs as your daily exercise in this book of “Uncommon Common Wisdom”.

We observed in earlier devotionals from Proverbs 31 the king’s recollection of his mother’s wise counsel (31:1-9). Proverbs 31:10 marked a dramatic shift from the Queen mother’s counsel to her son’s love, admiration and praise for his mother. No prose has ever captured the portrait of so great a wife and mother as the words recorded in Proverbs 31:10-31.godly woman

The king described his mother as a virtuous wife and mother: She was rare among women, a priceless jewel (31:10). She was responsible (31:11) and righteous–a compliment to her husband’s reign as king and a complement to his character and reputation (31:12).

To those virtuous qualities we add a trait that speaks of her industrious character: She was reliable, diligent and hardworking—She worketh willingly [delight] with her hands” (31:13-18).

Proverbs 31:13-18 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

mother sewingRather than an exposition on each verse, allow me to state briefly five evidences of a virtuous woman’s industrious disposition: 1) She delights in her work [spinning wool and flax into cloth with which she clothes her family – 31:13]. 2) Like merchant ships that cross the seas in search of rare finds, she shops in the marketplaces bringing home meats and vegetables to nourish her family (31:14). 3) She rises early to prepare food for her household (31:15). 4) She is not afraid of hard work and is savvy in business (31:16-17). 5) Finally, she looks to the future and plans for the needs of her family (“…her candle goeth not out by night” – 31:18b).

I close this final devotional of 2014 acknowledging my life has been one of privilege for many virtuous women have graced my sojourn. I thank God for a Whitley, Sadiewife who could serve as Solomon’s model for a woman of virtue—a faithful wife and loving mother.  My virtuous mother’s labor in the garden in my childhood and the delicious biscuits she would bake before the morning sun caressed the horizon.  I remember the tireless labor of my other mother who labored as God’s servant in her church daycare and the beautiful dresses she sewed for the wife of my youth in college.  I recall my maternal grandmother’s suffering grace in a nursing home and an adopted grandmother who has blessed my life.

I rejoice in God’s salvation, mercy, grace and the virtuous women who have shaped my life.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith