Neither a husband nor a wife can truly be evaluated as “great” or “worthy” by simply looking at their “careers” or “accomplishments” without first considering what kind of husband or wife they are and what kind of father or mother they are if they have children. How do they treat the poor and needy?
These are elements that must be valued far more than just another independent person who accomplishes much in the eyes of the world, but in they eyes of YHWH neglects their responsibilities for the family. Men may celebrate worldly accomplishments, but YHWH looks to see if we took care of our primary responsibilities to Him and to our family first.
Proverbs 31 is often quoted for its description of a worthy woman, but there is solid guidance for men as well in the first part which describes the advice of a mother to her son. Don’t dismiss these things as outdated because they are addressed to people thousands of years ago. Neither human nature nor YHWH have changed. Rather consider how to update and apply the concepts in our lives today.
The Words of Lemuel
1The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:
2What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?
3Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
5For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.
7Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.
8Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Description of a Worthy Woman
10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
There is one more perspective through which we should consider these verses. For a man, consider if you measure up to the advice given to Lemuel. For a woman, consider how you measure up to the description of a “worthy woman”. Take this as an opportunity to pray and reflect on whether there are any changes you should make in your life. Discuss it and pray over it with your spouse if you are married.
Do not submit to the world’s definition of greatness, but rather that of YHWH. Consider also how Yeshua described greatness.
10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.