TITLE: PART I of The Perfect Match 121015
By Jan True
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Many of us have envisioned an ideal marriage prior to our wedding day based on role definitive bible teaching. But in addition, many - both men and women - have found Proverbs 31 very helpful for practical understanding of how the Godly woman’s role plays out. It is a guide of the good, hard-working wife and mother that women in all walks of life can aspire to. But what is a practical guide for men to aspire to? What does that look like? What is helpful to both men and women to gain a practical understanding of how the Godly man’s role plays out? Let’s first look at the woman’s role.
A Proverbs 31 Wife
Pastors have long preached on Proverbs 31 to describe the character and duties of an excellent wife and mother. At least they used to. Some, to the dismay of others, have used this passage to try and convince women to remain stay-at-home moms until the last child has finished high-school. Others have broadened the passage to mean that although this woman was gifted in sales and craft abilities, other women should adapt the passage to mean whatever their God-given talents are; that such gifts are to be used to bless others. But regardless of how it has been interpreted down through the ages, believers see it as a gage of what to expect of Christian women in general.
Just what does Proverbs 31 say concerning the woman’s role? Let’s take a refresher course. Verses 10 through 31, listed below, are an oracle that King Lemuel’s mother taught him. An oracle was the spoken word of a priest concerning a divine revelation from God to the people. The oracle is this (Quote Proverbs 31:10-31):
An excellent wife, who can find? ... And let her works praise her in the gates.
What I love most about Proverbs 31 is that it encourages each and every woman to develop her unique identity as a person, which finds expression in the product she produces and the joy she brings to those on the receiving end. Proverbs 31 also shows us how the woman benefits by conforming to the biblical standard, provided of course that it is God’s standard and not a false interpretation of His standard that she is conforming to. For it states, “She senses that her gain is good… She smiles at the future… Her children rise up and bless her… Her husband… praises her… Her works praise her in the gates.” These are great blessings. And I believe she is blessed mainly because she is engaging in work she has the talent and ability to do, and/or sells her products, or volunteers her services – not just to help herself, but to help others. Do you see the difference? Other women have made the mistake of living totally for themselves and their families to the detriment of others; self-centered rather than other-centered. And on the extreme end, some women fit the description mentioned in Ezekiel 16:49-50:
Behold this was the guilt of your sister, Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance,
abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they
were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them…
They were women of folly.
Yes, these benefits mentioned in Proverbs 31 are a byproduct of a Godly woman of wisdom. She does not praise herself for her accomplishments. Others are praising her.
Are you experiencing these kinds of blessings?
Now of course there are exceptions to this behind-the scenes, stay-at-home, tireless woman. Deborah, a prophetess and judge, ruled Israel for 40 years (Judges 4:4). She, not her husband, was “in the gate” (place of authority) with the elders. But I’m sure when the day was done she went home to her husband, Lappidoth, to resume her wifely duties. There were other female leaders mentioned in scripture as well, such as Hilkiah, wife of Shallum (2 Chron. 34:22, 2 Kings 22:14), and Priscilla, a teacher along with her husband Aquila. And in modern times, most men do not dispute the role Golda Meir played in the years 1969 to 1974 as prime minister in Israel. Others would also include Margaret Thatcher when she was prime minister of Great Britain. And of course there are numerous others.
Today we do need to factor in some cultural differences like fewer children and modern conveniences making it possible for more women to have spare time to explore their creative gifts. But the woman of Proverbs 31 also had maids to help with the tasks at hand enabling her to accomplish so much. Others are not so fortunate.
Proverbs 31 not only shows women how to live out the practicality of loving their husbands and their children; but should cause them to realize the importance of maintaining their own identity formulated when putting their talents and abilities to good use, such as buying and selling what their hands have made, purchasing land and developing it, helping their neighbors in need, etc.
Some women have made the mistake of living totally for their husbands and children, never developing a sense of self. However, they eventually reach a point where they lose their unique identity and feel they are taken for granted. This is not God’s blueprint for God’s women. But devoting your time to God, husband, children, and outside interests is always a balancing act that must be maintained by wisdom.
A Job 31 Husband
Now let’s look at the male role. Such a character sketch as that found in Proverbs 31 for women would truly be useful when it comes to identifying the character and duties of a husband and father. A male biblical role model would give us a clear picture not only of his responsibilities within his home and community, but the Godly character it entails.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.