According to the writer of Proverbs, a good woman has a favorable character about her. She is agreeable and pleasant, well-founded, and commendable in her conduct. The things she engages in are marked by success and bring those in her life much joy. It is a tremendous thing to be esteemed in this manner, yet it almost seems an insurmountable thing to attain this kind of praise-worthy character in our lives. It is important to not lose sight of the fact that her character is praise-worthy solely because it has been deeply affected by her God. It is not because she can plow a field, sew her own clothing, provide a warm meal on the table three times a day, or run a business on the side. It is simply because she has allowed God access to the inner workings of her heart and has allowed the Holy Spirit to transform the aspects of her character that deeply need the touch of the divine.
It comes as no surprise to me that King Lemuel’s mother would comment that a good woman of this type of character is difficult to find. It is natural for a mother to want only the best for her child. She raises that child with the hopes that he will develop into a man of strong moral character and be blessed with a woman of similar character. She is earnest in her desire for her son, warning him first to beware of the enticement to pursue a woman who is fortune-hunting or promiscuous because she would lead him astray. She is intently aware that a leader needs to be an example for those who follow him and warns strongly against the rowdy life of a partier.
Her heart’s desire for her son is to be sensitive to the needs of the people around him and to stand up for the things in life that forward the cause of justice and tend to the needs of those who are destitute in life. She is a good mother, earnestly urging her son to make the right choice in a mate. I would suspect that she has been looking for a “good woman” for her son since he was old enough for her to begin to form an awareness of his character, personality, and interests. Now, she takes the time to shape his perceptions of a “good woman”.
As we read through all the abilities and accomplishments of a Proverbs 31 woman, it would be very easy to become defeated by our own sense of not measuring up to all of her outstanding accomplishments in life. I know for myself that I have not mastered the art of sewing my own clothing, buying and selling property, or even planting a garden. I am not very good at interpreting the happenings of the stock market, I seldom find those “exotic surprises” that she shops for in world markets, and I often don’t roll out of bed in the morning with an enthusiastic attitude that exudes a sense of thrill or excitement for what I face ahead of me that day.
I often eat a big meal at work, bypassing the need to cook at home. I keep a neat house, but can look around at this very moment to see household chores that need my attention. I do well to fill the cat’s dish with food and fresh water daily. I would not consider my weekend attire of work out pants and t-shirts to be “elegant” by any means. I sometimes find it hard to keep myself productive, let alone anyone else. I often skip breakfast, opting for a quick cup of coffee and a Pop-Tart if I actually gag something down in the morning hours. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have a husband!
So, how does this passage of scripture apply to me – a single woman, working daily in the workplace in order to have a roof over my head, children raised and on their own, and no one left in my daily care except a cat and my mother? I think you will agree that if we each look deep enough, we can find those nougats of truth that can stimulate some deep soul-searching, even though each portion of this chapter do not immediately apply to all of our daily activities. Even within the scriptures that seem the most obscure and the least likely to apply to us personally, there are nougats to be found. Don't be intimidated by the Word - instead, let it begin to bring forth simple truths about our heavenly Father, the realities of what he provides for his children and the joy of serving as he designed for us to serve. You may be surprised just what you will uncover! In God's economy, we are worth more than diamonds!