Proverbs 31

1 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
    What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
    and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Throughout the book of Proverbs, the reader receives the exhortation to choose godly wisdom instead of folly. In the final verses of the book, the God-fearing woman is praised for her decision to pursue what is eternal rather than what is fleeting. The word for praise is halal in Hebrew, which means to shine. The godly woman chooses to follow God’s ways, not the world’s, for she knows that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (Proverbs 31:30). In her character, in the way she clothes herself with godly virtues, and in the way she orders her life, this woman shines before others and bears testimony to the joy of following the Lord.

Pause: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (vs. 30).

Ponder: Am I earnestly seeking to live in such a way that others see Jesus shining through me? Am I choosing the ways of the Lord over the ways of this world? What can I do today to grow in godly wisdom?

Prayer: Lord, may I do all things without grumbling or disputing that I may be blameless and innocent, Your child without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. Grant that I might shine as a light in the world, holding fast to Your Word of life, so I will neither run nor labor in vain (Philippians 2:14-16).

P.S. You did it! If you followed the Wisdom in Chaos series with UFC Women, you have now read 31 incredible chapters of Proverbs, the ancient collection of timeless words of guidance for the many seasons of life. I hope you were as encouraged and challenged as I was by the wise words and were left hungering for more time in God’s Word. I know I’ll be returning to the Proverbs in the coming days to wrestle more with how to respond to the situations and people in my life in a way that reflects my Lord. And I’ll be jumping into the Believing God in Unwanted Circumstances readings and questions that begin today for the month of October. This will give me a brief, structured time in God’s Word five days a week and provide much-needed fellowship with my sisters in Christ. Will you join me? Learn more and sign up here. Registration is required to receive all the benefits associated with this study.

— Jaime Sherman