This past week during worship, a prophet of the Lord came to me and told me to meditate on the Proverbs 31 woman, for that is what God was calling me to be.
Let me just say at the outset I have shunned (translate to read REBELLED) every possible teaching on the Proverbs 31 woman because every single one forgets to mention at the outset that she had SERVANTS who carried out her bidding and without them, it is impossible to attain all that she accomplished. Additionally, every teaching I have heard has been focused on getting women ‘put in their place’ of subservience, insisting that Christian women must be stellar homemakers, super-chefs, wondrous businesswomen, perfect parents, and all the while making her husband look good, sacrificing her all for him.
However, when the prophet spoke I felt a confirmation in my spirit, so during my morning devotions I went directly to those verses and began to read. I read through Proverbs 31:10 – 31 many, many times before I finally stopped and waited for some understanding and revelation from the Holy Spirit. And reveal Himself, He did!
Proverbs 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
Indeed, a virtuous woman cannot be purchased with gold, silver or jewels. She has already been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. She is priceless, and she is the chosen one.
An in-depth study of Mary, the mother of Jesus, reveals a glorious picture of this woman.
Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
In the spiritual realm, her husband, the LORD, trusts her with all things. She has been tested and tried in the furnaces of affliction and deprivation, and He has found her faithfulness to be unwavering. She uses the gifts and talents she has been given to produce much fruit, making it unnecessary for the LORD to battle to win fruit as spoils of war.
In the natural, she is not a spendthrift. Her earthbound husband can trust her with their finances and their futures, as she endeavors to use every avenue available to stretch their income.
Proverbs 31:12 “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
In the spiritual realm, she magnifies the LORD and gives Him glory at all times. She does not blame Him when things do not seem to be going the way she would like, nor does she chastise Him when evil circumstances arise. She knows who her protector and defender is, and she knows who her enemy is, and she does not confuse the two.
In the natural, she speaks well of her earthbound husband when she speaks to others. When she is with him, she encourages him and supports him, acting as a suitable co-laborer with him in meeting their goals as a family. She knows he is not the enemy and prays for him daily, seeking the LORD’s protection over him and guidance for him.
An in-depth study of Ruth, the mother of Obed, reveals the true constancy that this woman exhibits.
Proverbs 31:13 “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”
In the spiritual realm, she looks for spiritual supplies that can be used to further the ministry of the LORD. She is not lazy, and willingly rises early and stays up late when the need arises in order to seek out the things that will strengthen the cloth of her garment of praise.
In the natural, she is not lazy and spends her time in pursuits that bear the fruit of industry, whether in medicine or law or politics or sewing or knitting or baking or writing or mending or – whatever talents the LORD has placed within her.
Proverbs 31:14 “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”
In the spiritual realm, she takes the meat and milk she has gleaned from the Word and shares it wherever she goes and whenever she can, even across oceans to foreign lands. She does not sit at home and wait for someone to come to her, but rather she ventures out as a merchant ship with a cargo to deliver.
In the natural, she prepares in abundance and shares with whomever she can, just as Abigail did for King David.
Proverbs 31:15 “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
In the spiritual realm, she rises early in the morning to spend time with the LORD, preparing the meat of the Word that He provides for her, and then sharing it with her family and with those the LORD has placed under her tutelage.
In the natural, this women takes care of those of her household, ensuring that what they need for sustenance is available to them each day. She also has servants whom she makes sure are well cared for. In today’s American society, for most of us, those servants are the grocer, the restaurant, the dry cleaners, the dishwasher, washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, and computer. The more fortunate among us have someone who comes in to clean our homes for us! This woman makes sure those people are well cared for – by paying them an adequate wage.
Just like the Shunammite woman, this woman is hospitable.
Proverbs 31:16 “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”
In the spiritual realm, she has increased because of the harvest she has received out of the Word, and she uses that increase to increase even more, multiplying the harvest by extending her ministry beyond her maidens (those under her tutelage). She has increased so much that she must have help to plant more seeds, and so the harvest she has brought in begins to assist in planting a vineyard.
In the natural, she is a prudent business woman and invests wisely. With the increase from her investments, she hires experts to increase her investments even more.
She is a good business woman, as Lydia was.
Proverbs 31:17 “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”
In the spiritual realm, she exercises her spiritual muscles, increasing in the knowledge of the truth and enabling her to swing the Sword of Truth with ease. She stays spiritually fit through spiritual disciplines such as fasting, prayer, and praise, staying strong for the work ahead and ensuring she is able to finish the race.
In the natural, she takes care of herself so that she is able to accomplish what is required of her.
The faith of this woman mirrors that of the Syrophenician woman.
Proverbs 31:18 “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”
In the spiritual realm, when she sees that the LORD is working through her and producing good works she does not allow herself to stop just because the hour is late or the going gets rough, or because she is weary. Regardless of the level of enemy attack (darkness) her spirit remains strong in the LORD.
In the natural, when she is working at something that looks like it is a good product, she doesn’t stop just because night has fallen, but carries it through to completion.
The Word of God tells us that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. This woman’s candle burns in the window of her heart unceasingly, allowing the Lord to do the work He needs to do in order to change her into His image.
Proverbs 31:19 “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”
In the spiritual realm, she holds fast to the Word of God, and she records what He gives her, weaving it delicately to reveal TRUTH, line upon line, precept upon precept.
In the natural, she does not allow her hands to sit idle but uses them to produce something of value.
This woman is very capable, as was Abigail, the wife of Nabal.
Proverbs 31:20 “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”
In the spiritual realm, she shares the wisdom, understanding, and truth that she has received through the Holy Spirit with those who are less fortunate. She has a Word in due season for those in need, and she draws the loners of the church into the circle of fellowship.
In the natural, she is generous and kind.
This woman’s benevolence is seen by all, just as was the benevolence of Dorcas.
Proverbs 31:21 “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”
In the spiritual realm, she does not fear the enemy for her entire household is saved, covered by the blood of Calvary.
In the natural, she does not fret over changes in the weather because she has made sure her family is provided with clean, weather-appropriate clothing.
Proverbs 31:22 “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”
In the spiritual realm, she is a priest in the Kingdom of God who weaves the events of her life as learning and growth experiences into a more intimate relationship with the Father. She is clothed in righteousness, not the rags of the dead.
In the natural, she is well-groomed and modestly attired.
Proverbs 31:23 “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”
In the spiritual realm, it is apparent to all that her husband is LORD Jesus Christ. She brings Him honor and glory, as her life magnifies Him.
In the natural, she does not shame her earthbound husband, and when he is among others it is clear to them that she respects him and thus brings honor to him.
Proverbs 31:24 “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”
In the spiritual realm, she uses the revelation and knowledge that the Holy Spirit has imparted to her in order to produce books, devotionals and study guides which she sells in the marketplace.
In the natural, those hobbies that she works are opportunities for additional income.
Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”
In the spiritual realm, she is the bride of Christ and her relationship with Him brings her honor and strengthens her to hold on until the day when the bridegroom will gather her unto himself. She will rejoice when she is united eternally with the LORD.
In the natural, she is a strong woman who is respected by others and who will be blessed to hear their compliments and praises.
Proverbs 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
In the spiritual realm, when she speaks the universe responds. Her words have great power and she does not speak them lightly, nor does she allow foolishness or unkindness to pass through her lips. Her authority is seen clearly by those around her as her words bring forth life.
In the natural, she guards her words and looks for opportunities to be kind. She refuses to gossip or to listen to gossip.
This is a very humble woman, with the humility exhibited by Elisabeth, mother of John.
Proverbs 31:27 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
In the spiritual realm, she does not waste time on endeavors that do not bear spiritual fruit, nor does she run after every new spiritual fad. She is careful to enter into spiritual works that the LORD calls her to do, and avoids those she knows she has not been called to. She prays daily for those under her charge and does not hesitate to enter into spiritual warfare when the enemy attempts to strike. Even when she appears to be resting she is praying and praising, always interceding for those she holds dear.
In the natural, her family can be confident that there will always be clean clothes, groceries, and a clean house to come home to. She trains her children well to take care of themselves and one another, and the entire household shares the burdens so that all are well cared for.
This woman is as self-sacrificing as Esther.
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
In the spiritual realm, her children are those she has led to the LORD or whom He has placed under her care. They rise up, meaning they are no longer bowed down under the weights the enemy has placed upon them, but they are erect and strong and therefore bless her for helping them to reach that position. The LORD, her husband, also praises her works.
In the natural, her children and her earthbound husband praise her because she consciously puts them first in her life and helps them to become all that they can be in Christ.
This woman has the ideal motherhood attributes of Hannah and is immortalized by her husband as was Mary of Bethany by Christ.
Proverbs 31:29 “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”
In the spiritual realm, the LORD has many daughters and they are all considered virtuous. This daughter, however, has surpassed them in her pursuit and passion of the LORD. She has surrendered her entire identity to HIS control and He has, in turn, made her into someone He holds in the highest esteem.
In the natural, this woman has comported herself with dignity and modesty and is beyond reproach.
Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
In the spiritual realm, the many daughters of the LORD carry many virtues. Some clearly exhibit the LORD’s favor on their lives, while others carry such a beautiful spirit that people flock to be around them. But the woman whom the LORD praises is the one who fears Him, honors Him, respects Him, and gives Him all glory.
In the natural, a godly woman is to be praised above those who are beautiful or popular.
Proverbs 31:31 “Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
In the spiritual realm, the LORD will bestow upon her the blessing of her spiritual harvest, and as she enters into the Kingdom to stand before Him to receive her reward, her spiritual harvest will stand in the gates and praise her where the LORD can see and hear it.
In the natural, the work that this woman does bears fruit and earns her honor and praise.
The Proverbs 31 woman exhibits the crowning qualities of womanhood – those qualities which God considers worthy of praise – a devotional spirit, modesty, liberality, wisdom, and virtue. These qualities are not always natural in women and require the work of the Holy Spirit to change us and impart these wonderful traits into us.
Women of the church have been so beaten up by the Proverbs 31 woman. She is not to be feared and certainly not to be scoffed. Where we lack these marvelous Christian graces, we can pray and ask God to perfect us as He has promised. We must not compare ourselves with others: whenever we begin comparing ourselves with others, one of two things will happen: either we will become prideful because we think we are closer to attaining that perfection, or we will become dejected because we feel we cannot ever be as good as someone else.
The greatest gift this study can impart is the realization that God has created women to be co-laborers with men, not slaves to them. God intends for husbands and wives to help one another fulfill their unique purposes within the Kingdom, and He honors and cherishes His daughters.