Category Archives: Widow

In Praise of Godly Mothers

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 31

Our scripture reading in the Book of Proverbs concludes with one of the most beloved chapters in the book, Proverbs 31.  The identification of the author has been the subject of debate; however, I believe the author was King Solomon.  We read in the opening salutation, “The words [discourse; law] of king Lemuel, the prophecy [burden; tribute] that his mother taught him [instructed; discipline; chasten] (Proverbs 31:1).

Perhaps Bathsheba gave her son a nick name that held deep meaning for her.  Having sorrowed the loss of her firstborn son, Lemuel’s name held deep meaning for his mother.  The literal meaning of Lemuel is “unto God”, meaning dedicated to God, and no doubt expressed her heart’s desire.

I suggest two sections or divisions of Proverbs 31.  The first, Proverbs 31:1-9, contains a Queen mother’s instructions to her son who would one day serve the nation as king.

The second division, Proverbs 31:10-31, is perhaps the most beautiful tribute ever written by a son in praise of his mother.  Countless books and innumerable quotes exist in praise of motherhood; however, I know of no other source that paints the blessed picture of motherhood more perfect than Proverbs 31.  Alas, my task is a brief devotional commentary and to that end I suggest one from a devotional I first penned March 31, 2015.

Proverbs 31:29-30 – 29 Many daughters have done virtuously [served with strength; courage; excellence], but thou excellest [ascend; go beyond] them all. 30 Favour [charm; grace] is deceitful [lies; unreliable], and beauty is vain [temporal; passing]: but a woman that feareth [reverences] the LORD, she shall be praised.”

One of the great tragedies of our 21st century society is the void of godly, virtuous daughters, wives and mothers.  The strength of femininity has served mankind well and the influence of daughters, wives and mothers on society is immeasurable.  Like salt seasons and flavors, women have the power to season their homes, communities and society with feminine, preserving grace.

Historically, mothers served not only as the womb of life, but also as the moral compass for a family, community and nation.  Make no mistake, the influence of organizations like NOW, and the rise to leadership of women who crusade for and encourage the slaughter of the unborn infant in a mother’s womb has dethroned America’s daughters, wives and mothers.

Proverbs 31:31 – Give [Deliver; yield; recompense; pay; apportion] her of the fruit [reward; results] of her hands [labor; consecration]; and let her own works [labor; deeds; achievements; behavior] praise [boast; glory] her in the gates [gates of the city where the elders sat and exercised judgment].”

A husband, son and daughter of a virtuous wife and mother can never compliment or praise a woman of virtue too much!   In his letter to the scattered and persecuted Christians of the 1st century church the apostle Peter challenged husbands: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [wife] according to knowledge [understanding], giving honour [cherish; treat as priceless] unto the wife…” (1 Peter 3:7).

It is my prayer this brief devotional has inspired daughters, wives and mothers to love the Lord and know, in spite of what this godless society might tell you, your influence is beyond your comprehension.  Many have said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

I close with an illustration and am at a lost to cite its origin.

Illust. – A man stopped at the flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived 200 miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied: “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have 75 cents and a rose cost $2.00.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I will buy you a rose for your mother.”  He placed his FTD order of flowers to his mother and bought a rose for the girl.  As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride.

She responded, “Yes, please, if you could. Take me to my mother,” and she directed him to a cemetery where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up the flowers and drove the 200 miles to his mother’s home.

Wives and mother’s long for their family’s affection and nothing will compare to the praise of her family.   By the way, to my wife, daughters and mothers in my life…I love you!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 16:31 – Do you really want to wash that gray out of your hair?

barberI remember it well!  I was sitting in a barber’s chair at the corner of Thirteen Mile Rd. and Ryan Rd. in Warren, Michigan, chatting with the barber while my youthful locks were trimmed.  Draped in the black gown barbers use to cover their customers, I first noticed it—a gray hair!  Not just any gray hair, my first gray hair!  I was stunned; after all, I was 28 years old and only old people have gray hair!  Incredulous, I asked the barber, “What is this?”  Without a hint of mercy or understanding, the barber left me to wrestle with the rude awakening that youth was fleeting and old age was crowding its way into my hair and life!

For those who have joined my lot in life with more gray hair than not, Solomon offers us a spiritual principle for living in Proverbs 16:31.gray haired grandparents

Proverbs 16:31– “The hoary head [gray-headed; old age] is a crown of glory [beauty; achievement], if it be found [appear; acquired] in the way [path; journey] of righteousness [virtue; justice].”

The “hoary head” (literally, the head with gray hair) is a crown, a sign of a long life that ought to command respect from youth (Solomon states in another proverb “the beauty of old men is the gray head” – Proverbs 20:29).  I recall with fondness many “hoary heads” I have loved and revered over the years.  Men and women whose lives and life experiences were like a treasure trove of wisdom that I acquired by sitting and listening to their walk down memory lane.  Their lives were a testimony of discipline, uprightness and godly wisdom.  They had earned my admiration and I basked in the joy of their friendship and fellowship.

Notice, however, that Proverbs 16:31 is a conditional proverb for it states that gray heads command respect if “if it be found in the way of righteousness (16:31b).  Herein is a warning for all “hoary heads”: Gray hairs and long life alone are not indicative of godly wisdom.  It is the man or woman who has chosen to follow the “way of righteousness” whose life commands our respect.gray hair

Face it my friend, sooner or later gray hairs will push their way into your mane and, whether or not they are a sign of maturity, worry or foolish indiscretions is up to you to decide.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 15:25 – An extraordinary promise for widows

widowProverbs 15:25 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-existent God] will destroy [pluck down; tear away] the house [home; family] of the proud [arrogant]: but He [the LORD] will establish [set up; erect; firm up] the border [boundary; territory] of the widow.”

Proverbs 15:25 serves as a word of admonition to the proud and a word of encouragement to the widow.

To the proud who feel they are above the law and common decency to their fellow-man, be forewarned—mistreat a widow, the fatherless and others less fortunate than yourself and your household will face the wrath of a holy, just God (15:25a).

Widows are of particular interest to God (15:25b) and the Bible has many admonitions and exhortations concerning His love and special care for orphans and widows.

Exodus 22:22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.”

Psalm 10:14 “…Thou [God] art the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 146:9 – The LORD preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.”

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction [need], and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Christ wonderfully illustrated the magnanimous care God has for widows when He hung dying on the cross and instructed the apostle John to take His mother Mary into his home and love and care for her as his own mother (John 19:26-27).widows2

In his letter to Timothy, Paul commanded the church to, “Honour [prize; revere; value] widows that are widows indeed [i.e. without children and family] (1 Timothy 5:3).  For the widow who might be tempted to see her life as one of loneliness, I challenge you to endear yourself to others by being a woman of prayer and a model of faith and trust in the Lord (1 Timothy 5:5).

Finally, pity the fool, thief or charlatan who dares take advantage of a widow upon whom God has said, “[I] will establish the border of the widow.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith