by: FCC Staff
Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”
If you could put a face on the feminine embodiment of Wisdom of Proverbs 3:13-18 and 9:1-6, you would have the wife of chapter 31. In fact, much of the same language is used. There has been debate down through the ages as to whether this portion of chapter 31 is a continuation of or a separation from the advice of Lemuel’s mother or even if this king Lemuel of verses 1-9 is in fact Solomon. We will leave those debates for another time.
Much of Proverbs has been about what an ‘unfaithful’ wife looks like, so it is fitting that the book closes with a look at the ideal wife. It is said that it has been used as a type of handbook for young people of marrying age both for a young man for what to look for in a wife as well as a young woman as to what they should strive for. The poem is written as an acrostic with each section beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
I can almost hear King Lemuel’s mother as she begins to wisely contrast the women her son has been spending his time with, referred to in verse one, who just takes his strength and are slowly destroying him, with the wise wife who is loved and honored by her husband and children and respected in her community. Much as his mother Bathsheba may have been with his father David. Though they got off to a rocky start, through sincere repentance their relationship could be restored first with God then with one another. So, what kind of women has Solomon been spending his time with you may wonder? Well, let’s take a look at the line up from 1 Kings 11:1-8:
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.”’
What must a godly mother have thought? As she says in verse 2, “What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?” Remember, Lemuel means “devoted to God”. You can almost hear a mother crying over the actions of her beloved child straying from the faith. Straying from the ways of God. “Listen and hear, my son to the words of my song!” One can almost hear her crying as she pens the poem revealing the ways of a righteous women worth all your wealth, worth all your jewels. Find her and you will have what you are searching for in all these others!
Loving parents and grandparents never tire of loving and praying for their children and their children’s children. No matter how far astray they may appear to be, as with the hope revealed in Jesus’ Prodigal Son narrative, there is always hope of repentance and restoration. This is reminiscent of Jesus’ words in Revelation 2:4-5, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”
What foreign gods might I be harboring in my life, mind and heart? Have I, like Solomon, taken in relationship, ways and practices displeasing to my God and Savior Jesus Christ? There is nothing I can do about yesterday but as is written repeatedly, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7,13,15;4:7). It is time today, right now to repent. To remember my first love, to remember the things I did at first when I first came to know him.
What about you? Do you know Jesus as your savior? Do you have a close personal relationship with Him as your God? Apart from putting him first, all other relationships will be on a wrong platform and will work to draw your heart from Him.
Prayer for today: Father, search me out and reveal the idols in my life. Open my eyes and empower me to see them for what they are and to destroy them. Help me to recognize relationships for what they are and to always put you first Lord Jesus, in whose name I pray and place my trust. Amen.