What is a wise woman like?
We’ve been learning about walking in the way of wisdom and about seeking wisdom as if it were a treasure. In our next few devotionals, we’ll explore the biblical sages’ description of a woman of wisdom. If you’re a man reading this, please don’t stop. This teaching is for both men and women and enlightens both as to God’s concept of living wisely in this world.
The 31st chapter of the book of Proverbs holds up a high ideal for a woman of wisdom, and that ideal is liberating, not intimidating. As we see all that the wise woman is capable of, we realize women are not held back by the teachings of God’s Word. Instead, women are challenged by these words to be all that they can be under the guidance and empowerment of God himself!
What is a wise woman like?
“She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple . . . Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:22 and 30). We get the impression that she makes the most of her physical appearance. She takes care of herself and dresses well, but she does not rely on charm or beauty to open doors for her. Her attractiveness is built upon her character (v. 10), her doing of ‘noble’ things (v. 29), and her fear of the Lord (v. 30).
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks” (Proverbs 31:17). This verse speaks of physical strength; but, as we read on, we see that she is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, too. The description in Proverbs of God’s ideal woman is one who is complete in herself. She is the kind of woman who can be a strong partner to a man in his work, his relationships, and his service to God. Though the woman of wisdom has strength, she chooses to be mutually dependent on her husband, family, and the people of God.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25). This woman knows proper conduct and can do the right things when they are required. As we read the entire chapter, we realize that her responsible behavior has resulted in successes, and those successes, along with the way she carries herself and the way she behaves, bring her respect and dignity.
The ideal woman is an able communicator. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). This woman’s wisdom begins with fear of God (v. 30), and her speech gives evidence of it. The original Hebrew rendition of this verse includes the concept of kindness in her speech. Words of wisdom alone can be helpful, but words of wisdom coupled with kindness can soften hearts and change the world one person at a time!
“She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. . . ” (Proverbs 31:20 KJV). She goes beyond serving her own family to helping others in need. In so doing, she’s providing a great example for her children to follow. A few Christmases ago, I received a call from my younger daughter wanting to know if Jimmy, an Indonesian friend of her husband’s, could join us for dinner on Christmas Day as he was far from family and home. When she asked, I smiled inwardly, remembering all the times through her growing up years that we welcomed the lonely and alone to our holiday tables. She and her husband were taking that example into the next generation and you can imagine how it pleases a mother to see that occurring!
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value” (Proverbs 31:11). A wise woman will never do anything that will cause her husband to doubt her faithfulness to him and her commitment to their marriage, their home, and their continuing future together. How can women build that confidence in their mates? Through supportive, true, and loving words; by having the attitude of a team player and following through dependably; by continual verbal and emotional reassurances; and by devoting to him the attention and time it takes to build and grow a healthy marriage relationship.
Wouldn’t you like to be a woman like her? Wouldn’t you like to know a woman like this one? By God’s grace, let us all live wisely before Him and before the watching world.