A good read:
She was a new member of the church and asked me how she could get more involved. I mentioned several things including women’s ministry and when I did her countenance changed and she said, “I just cannot take another Proverbs 31 study!”
Why did she feel that way? I think it’s because we have often treated Proverbs 31 like a gospel-less job description but that is not how it functions at all in the book of Proverbs. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified and folly is personified as well. They are voices calling out, competing voices, voices that echo all the way back to the Garden of Eden. In the garden God spoke to his image bearers but a competing voice spoke as well and said, “Did God actually say?” (Gen 3:1). After Adam and Eve listened and obeyed the serpentine voice of folly, God spoke good news to them; he promised that there would be a seed born of woman would crush the head of the serpent . . .
The most important and fundamental thing about the Proverbs 31 woman is explained at the end of the chapter, “she fears the Lord” (Prov 31:30). Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7, 9:10, 15:33). This fear is a sense of awe and wonder, it is the fear of faith. Psalm 130:3-4 explains, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sin, then who could stand? But there is forgiveness that you may be feared.” The real Proverbs 31 mom does not read the description of “an excellent wife” (Prov 31:10) as a performance list to earn God’s favor. She is not building a spiritual resume to be proud of because her only hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no good news or wisdom apart from Jesus.
If Proverbs 31:10-31 is not a list to evaluate your performance or to cultivate a spiritual resume then what should we learn from it?