Proverbs 31

The Godly Woman.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” ­– Proverbs 31:30 NLT

We are a surface-only society. We are intrigued by externals and have no desire to look too deep. Having grown up on a steady diet of TV and movies, we are prone to judge others by their looks, the clothes they wear, or the kind of car they drive. The usual thing we ask one another when we meet for the first time is, “What do you do?” At the grocery store checkout line we are surrounded by images of beautiful people on the cover of magazines that offer us solutions to all of life’s problems – from how to have better sex to how to make millions with little investment or energy. We live in a society where image is everything. Andy Warhol’s famous “15-minutes of fame” has stretched into the length of a 30-minute reality TV show, with everyone from lobstermen to ice-truck drivers turning into household names. Other than the tabloid rumors we hear about various celebrities, what do we know about these TV and movie stars we watch each day? How well do we really know the beautiful actresses and recording artists who grace the magazine covers or walk the red carpet at star-studded events? But it doesn’t stop there. Think about the people you attend church with. Which ones tend to catch your eye? Probably the beautiful ones – those handsome, successful-looking individuals who wear the latest fashions, drive the nicest cars, and carry themselves with a sense of confidence. But what do we really know about them? What are they really like on the inside?

In this final Proverb, we read those famous lines about the “Proverbs 31 woman.” This unnamed, unknown woman has become an icon of virtue for women around the world. She has been held up as the poster-woman of what it means to be a godly woman. For some she is a model to follow, providing them with motivation to pursue excellence as a woman. For others, this woman represents an unachievable and unrealistic picture of the godly woman that always leaves them lacking. For them, the Proverbs 31 woman sets too high a bar. But the real story behind this woman begins on the inside. Her accomplishments are impressive, but they are nothing compared to what really makes her tick – her fear of the Lord. She was first and foremost a godly woman not because of all that she DID, but because of who she KNEW. She knew God and feared Him. She loved God and worshiped Him. Her actions and activities flowed from a heart that loved and feared God. In our society, looks are everything. Beauty and attractiveness are what matters most. How we appear on the outside means far more than what we are like on the inside. But as the writer of Proverbs 31 states, “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” Looks can be deceiving. You can’t judge a book by its cover – but we do – every day of our lives. Beauty doesn’t last, but that doesn’t stop us from making it the primary criteria upon which to build our relationships. We love beautiful, successful-looking people. But the woman of Proverbs 31 was successful on the inside. She was charming, but it was a charm that flowed from a truly loving heart. It was not fake or manufactured charm. She was probably beautiful, obviously hard-working, and highly successful. But without the fear of God, none of this would have had any value. She was a wife of noble character. Isn’t that what our world really needs? Isn’t that what the marriages in our churches really need? Isn’t that what we should want for our daughters? But in our celebrity-saturated society, noble character is hard to come by and seldom even looked for. We live in a world where it’s more important that you BE a character than have it. Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, Brittany Spears, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus – the list goes on and on. They’re in the news. They are the news. They are the picture of what it means to be “successful” in our society. But King Lemuel reminds us what real success looks like. And it begins with integrity, character, and a fear of the Lord.

Father, we celebrate the wrong things in this world. We elevate the wrong behavior. We accentuate the temporal and downplay the eternal. Show us how to model godliness and promote it in the lives of our young people. Help us to understand the value of character that is based on a fear of You. We need depth in our lives. We need to know what really counts and what will really last. Charm can deceive and beauty fades away with time. But godly character lasts forever. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men