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Miriam didn’t call me like usual when she woke up this morning. A half hour later I finally opened the door to my toddler whose eyes glistened. Panting with excitement she stood by her morning accomplishment.
“A big ole mess!”
She watched me proudly as I turned to survey the empty drawers and piles of toys and wads of wet wipes. I thought about how pleased she was with herself. I thought about how long it would take to fold all her clothes again. I thought about everything I had hoped to do this morning. I thought about the Proverbs 31 woman and how nice it would be to have one of her maidservants around to clean up this “big ole mess.”
It’s not the first time I’ve wished for her maidservants. I feel paralyzed when I look at the Proverbs 31 woman. What does it mean to measure up 2500 years later?
I’m tempted to preach a false gospel to myself, “Don’t worry about this passage! It surely can’t apply if you don’t have maidservants!”
I don’t go to the cross. I justify myself.
But at the root of my haste to write off the Proverbs 31 woman lies a much deeper issue. At the end of the day, I’m not convinced she’s good.
I’m not sure I want to be like her. I’m not sure I should be like her. So I quickly say that I can’t be like her.
Let me back up for a minute. If you asked me to write a poem about a godly woman, wife, and mother I would definitely want to hit a few key points:
- She prioritizes time reading and meditating on God’s Word
- She prays about everything
- She enjoys her husband and finds satisfaction helping him further Christ’s kingdom
- She diligently raises her children to not be comfortable in this world but long for Christ’s glory
But when it comes to the Proverbs 31 Woman, what do we see?
- It never mentions her studying God’s Word or praying
- Her seemingly sleepless nights are praised
- Her children are only mentioned once
- Half of the poem is about her small business
Is she really a picture of biblical womanhood? She is certainly not what I expect. Should I be like her? It seems like she finds worth in her accomplishments, not the God of Israel.
But C.S. Lewis cautions me at this point:
“If our religion is something objective then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellent; for it will be precisely the puzzling or the repellent which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know.”
As I studied the poem on the Proverbs 31 Woman using Bruce Waltke’s commentary I began to see that this woman portrays biblical womanhood more clearly than if she looked as I expected.
Over the next few weeks you’ll hear the beautiful story of the gospel, grace, and the Proverbs 31 woman.
Read the rest of the series:
- Measuring up to the Proverbs 31 Woman in the 21st Century
- Does the Proverbs 31 Woman Neglect the Most Important Things?
- The Proverbs 31 Woman Never Sleeps. Or, does she?
- Does the Proverbs 31 Woman Love Her Business More than Her Husband?
If you found this post helpful you might enjoy my study guide on the Proverbs 31 woman based on Bruce Waltke’s commentary and endorsed by him: To Live Valiantly: A study on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
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