She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." - Proverbs 31:26-31 NAS
Welcome to the fourth (and final) part of our study! Sorry about the delay and I hope you will find a blessing in this last installment of our study on the Heroine of Proverbs 31.
So grab a coffee or a tea, make yourself comfy, and we'll get right to it!
What I find interesting about these last few verses of our text is that it is like a summary of who this woman is, her identity. Again, you never see in this passage the word perfect. Mrs. Excellent is not perfect, but she takes great care in everything she does.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Notice that it doesn't add only to those of her household. That's something the Lord has been teaching me (among other things--I still need to learn a lot!) this year, how important it is to open our mouth in wisdom and to have "the teaching of kindness on our tongue."
The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue, but here are a few key scriptures to jot down and study:
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worseless." -- James 1:26 ESV
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." -- Proverbs 15:1 ESV
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." -- Psalm 19:14 ESV
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." -- Ephesians 4:29 ESV
That last one, especially, speaks to the Heroine of Proverbs 31, because the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Our words are for building up, for giving grace to others.
Think back on all the negative things that may have been spoken over you in your life. The way those words left an impact, even scars, that may have been difficult to overcome. Sadly, some people spend years in a painful healing process from having been lashed at with cruel words that have shaped who they are, and wrongfully so.
Now think back on the positive things that have been spoken over you in your life. A teacher who told you you were a budding writer, maybe (someone did that for me the fifth grade, and I never forgot him!). A grandmother who laughed at all your antics and let you know what a delight you were to her. A friend who told you you were beautiful when you felt anything but. A mom or dad who told you that it was okay if you didn't win the game or someone else gained the achievement you wanted, because they were proud of you just for trying and giving it your all. Those are the types of words that also can shape the person that we become.
Words have power. Whether they are spoken or written in social media, words have power. I warn myself as well as you, that we need to be careful. Because every time we speak a word, we represent the Lord. We are His ambassadors. And we always are presented with opportunities to build someone up, to give them grace. That applies to both people in our household and who we come into contact with outside the home.
Moving on...She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her saying, "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all."
Wow! How lovely is that, sisters? While Mrs. Excellent is busy, tending diligently and lovingly to her family and home, not "eating the bread of idleness" because she minds her own business and keeps herself focused on what is good, what has to be done, her children and husband are praising her. Just to note, I once heard that one scripture paraphrased as, "Many women have done well--but, baby, YOU'RE THE BEST!"
Have you ever noticed the kind words spoken about the deceased during funerals? When my mother and aunt died, I wondered if I had told them enough how much I loved them, how much I appreciated everything they'd done for me and my cousin, Pep, and our little family. There is a beautiful Spanish song by the great Puerto Rican salsa band, El Gran Combo, "Que Me Lo Den en Vida" (Translation: "That They Give it to Me in Life"). The song talks about exactly what is being said here. There's a part where the singer says, "Don't wait to go to my grave to give me (this affection); don't wait until I die to say sweet things to me; say them now, while I live, while you have me."
It is my prayer that those who you love, those of your household will praise and brag about you to all who will listen! Speak life to your daughters, too. To your daughters-in-law, to your sons, to your baby while he or she is still in the womb, because the unborn child hears their mother's voice and already builds a connection with her. Because loving words are good for all of us. God knows that, and it is pleasing to Him--truly, it brings Him glory!--when we express our love and appreciation for each other.
And finally, these words: Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
The King of Kings is looking for you. You are the creation of His hands. This is who He meant you to be: a woman who fears the Lord. Though we all have different talents, different careers or life paths, when we know the Lord as our Savior, Redeemer and Friend, this is His will for us, that we will be women who fear Him and walk with Him. He's not looking for youth or a sparkling personality or flawless beauty. All of those things, over time, fade. God doesn't care what label is on your clothes or what college degree you may or may not have. He cares about who you are in Him, that you belong to Him, and that your life is hidden in Him. You are beautiful and you are unique in His eyes.
Closing prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, which is eternal. Thank you for the picture painted in Proverbs 31. You know that it is difficult sometimes and You know everything I go through, but I stand on Your promise that with You, nothing is impossible. Thank You for my life, exactly as it is. Please protect and guide my loved ones and shine Your light through me in their lives. Help me to be an example for them. Forgive my shortcomings, Lord, and help me to forgive myself for my mistakes and to take one day at a time in Your will for me. Thank You for every opportunity that You present in my life for You to be glorified through everything I do, and that no act of love is small or insignificant. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
To view or review Part III of the Heroine of Proverbs 31, click here.
To view or review Part II of the Heroine of Proverbs 31, click here.
To view or review Part I ofthe Heroine of Proverbs 31, click here.