Proverbs 31: Why I love it.

Recently a friend wrote me and asked what is so special about this woman in Proverbs 31? I had to think about it. I spend years looking up to her, thinking about her and even writing about her.Time to organize my thoughts.

One thing that draws me to her is that God chose to record this description of her in the Bible. I should say here that I do receive the Bible as the inspired Word of God. I know people wrote it but I do believe it was all under the inspiration and more than powerful enough auspices of the Holy Spirit to overcome man's imperfections and make the words what He wanted them to be. I do not at all believe God is stumped by our human-ness, our frailty, our stuff. Far from it. 

So He gave her quite a prominent place in the Bible, he made her "the last word” of the book of Proverbs. Commonly referred to as the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs is a book full of practical advice and warnings about daily life. The wisdom of Proverbs is really quite timeless and transcends all cultures. Here, serving your family, extending help to those in need, being trustworthy, resourceful, hard-working, a good businesswoman, being commended by your own husband and kids, those are universal values to me. 

Another reason I admire her is that she is so fruitful.  What is her secret? I confess that I generally read the end of a book before I start it and with this Proverb, that is precisely where her secret is given: she fears the Lord. Now that might seem like something you wouldn’t want to do, "fear the Lord" that sounds... well, scary, stressful. Let's not fear anything, right? But in reality, we all fear something. Think about it. 

This woman, however, has decided to place all her fears in only one place: the loving hands of her Maker. When you fear One Who loves you and is good, there is not dread, there is no torment. This is not fear as we know it on earth. Instead of fearing people and events on this earth, she will mind Him, because He sees it all better anyway and He cares for her.

I don’t see her cowering in a dark recess of her house, scared that God might bop her over the head if she makes a wrong move. Her confidence stems from her trust in a God who would rather extend mercy than judgement. If there's a judgment to be borne, He'll bear it Himself even though He did no wrong. 

She had eyes to see those things about God also in the services of the Tabernacle, human though the priests be.  God won her heart and her trust.  That is her secret and I rejoice in it, I want eyes to see like that.  

I am confident that she knew God loved her because it takes love to trust. Without love, our assurance has the strident tone of pride and arrogance. It takes love to bear good fruit, because fruit grows when the branch is connected to the trunk of the tree, otherwise we're doomed to exhausting performance and that is not fruit, it is the result of effort. This woman is the picture of genuine trust, confidence and repose, the antithesis of fearful, anxious holding back. This also is something I deeply admire and reach for in my own life.

Finally, I has my attention because unlike many of our celebrities, what she represents is attainable to us all. No luck needed here, no waiting to "be discovered" or have "the right break". Her example each of us can follow from this very moment on, regardless of our age, background, education or geographical location. That alone is liberating and full of hope for the future.  

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