The Importance of a Good Wife – Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. – Proverbs 12:4

A husband may not be responsible for his wife’s actions, but he certainly is seen differently by others in light of her reputation and character. It is a great joy to see a married couple who work together, who highlight the strengths of their spouse and resolve issues well. This proverb speaks of the importance of a good wife and stresses that her character is crucial.

If you were to list what your idea of a good wife would be, what would you mention? The Bible provides a list in Proverbs 31 for us, and I’ll paraphrase some of the things mentioned. Check out the full list here in Proverbs 31:10-31 (the link goes to Bible Gateway). Do these characteristics match up with what you have in mind for a good wife?

  • Her husband trusts her and her actions. (vs. 11)
  • She does good, not evil. (vs.12)
  • She purchases materials and makes clothes. (vs.13)
  • She is an early riser in order to serve he family. (vs.15)
  • She is a profitable land investor. (vs. 16)
  • She has strong arms. (vs.17)
  • She cares for poor and needy people. (vs.20)
  • Her actions help make her husband famous. (vs. 23)
  • She speaks with wisdom and kindness. (vs.26)
  • She fears the LORD. (vs.30)
  • Her deeds are praised. (vs. 31)

Does anything in this list make you uneasy? I’m slightly scared of this type of woman! Surely only men are supposed to strengthen their arms? However King Lemuel, the writer of Proverbs 31, and highly influenced by his mother, thought differently (“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:” – Proverbs 31:1).
Unlike our world’s idea of a wife having a demeaning role in the home and in society, Proverbs portrays an extremely positive and powerful picture of a married woman who is godly and wise. This woman has strength in many areas. She supports her husband’s work and makes him the talk of the town. People assess her, nudge the lucky husband, and say, “You did well with her, buddy! (or say it under Facebook pics of her!)”
The proverb we are looking at in 12:4 speaks of this type of woman crowning the head of her husband. This crowning seems to speak of honour, headship, and glory – all things that lift up the husband in the eyes of his community. He is truly blessed 2334811445_29e4083a9c to have such a wonderful wife, who supports him and doesn’t supplant his authority. The opposite type of woman mentioned has intent to cause unrest and pain to her husband. Her actions bring his status among the community into disrepute, since, as the argument goes, what wise man would have married her? A man whose wife constantly makes unwise and spiteful decisions will find his efforts to get anywhere in life severely held up. The proverb speaks of the shameful wife rotting her spouse’s bones. He is hampered in his efforts to flourish in life.
In a world where self-purpose is all important this ideal stands in clear contrast. This excellent wife is satisfied with bringing about God’s and her husband’s glory by excelling in all things in her area of service.
I certainly want to seek such a woman for marriage; as of October, 2013, I’ve yet to marry.
What can we learn from this?
One thing we learn at least is the importance of whom we choose to marry. They will be our closest companion and will help us in our work/ministry. If our spouses seek to be destructive it will be easy as pie for them to bring us down. Your spouse will know you better than anyone else. If, however, they are godly and servant-hearted, your spouse will know how best to serve you. Choose wisely. Peace be with you.

Thanks for reading! – Pedrozki (Pete)

More Reading:

Proverbs speaks of this topic elsewhere: Proverbs 18:2
I’ve written about a similar passage here: Guaranteeing, Honour, and Forgiveness – Proverbs 11:15-17 (verse 16)

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Thoughts or questions? Have your say in the comments section!

Note: All scripture is taken from Bible Gateway and is either the New King James Version or New International Version. I am using a commentary by John A. Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

Main image courtesy of Kwadwo Kwarte and the “More Reading” image is courtesy of Vermont Historical Society / Flickr – Creative Commons

Sin affects the Righteous and the Wicked – Proverbs 11:31

If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth,

How much more the ungodly and the sinner.” – Proverbs 11:31

Even those living in faithfulness to God and His word will stumble and fall, and just like for any other sinner, there are consequences for them. Sin has a way of causing so much hurt and lasting problems, and it affects all people, whether or not they actively seek out evil deeds.

We can see examples of righteous people in the Bible being brought low with sin, and God allowing or bringing about consequences for the evil:

– Abraham slept with Hagar, his wife’s female servant, in order to get the child he feared he would never have with Sarah. Hagar had a boy, who was a source of jealousy for Sarah, and a threat to the first-born status of Isaac. (Genesis 21:8-11)

– God declared to King David that he would lose the son he conceived with Bathsheba, for his sexual sin with her, and his murder of Uriah, her husband. He was spared death himself, though. (I Samuel 12:9-15)

In these cases, we see a generally faithful servant of God suffering from the result of their sinful actions.

I believe the proverb is arguing that just as the righteous receive due reward for sin, so much more do the wicked for their lives of sin.

The Bible has examples of the wicked receiving punishment for their actions before God:

– Because he killed Abel, Cain was cursed to be a fugitive wherever he went, but was spared being murdered by his siblings with a mark given by God. (Genesis 4:8-15)

– Every human, but for Noah and his family, were drowned in a world-wide flood, for as the Lord said, “The earth is filled with violence through them.” (Genesis 6:9-13)

– King Belshazzar glorified himself and not the God of the Bible, and the Lord brought utter destruction on him and his line with the invasion of the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:22-31)

If it is the case that when even the faithful sin, they are punished, how much more so that those who utterly reject God and live life in complete rebellion will suffer.

Now, what can we learn as Christians?

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Sin is not to be trifled with. It is destructive to every life, and God does not deal lightly with offenders. There is great mercy and grace in a believers life, though, and God does spare us from his punishment. He instead disciplines us as a father disciplines his children, wanting us to grow to despise the sin as He does. This idea comes out in Hebrews 12:3-9 (sorry for so many links!) where the writer argues that we should receive God’s chastening well.

While we should expect people who reject God with their lives to suffer a lot, I doubt we have any good reason to gloat over them. We were once like them, under God’s anger. May we not so easily forget our beginnings. Amen.

-Thanks for reading! – Pedrozki (Pete)

Thoughts or questions? Have your say in the comments section!

Note: All scripture is taken from Bible Gateway and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John A.Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

Image courtesy of dr.joe_sim

A Righteous Life Blesses Many – Proverbs 11:30

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,

And he who wins souls is wise.” – Proverbs 11:30

Have you had the experience of being around people who are so loving and giving that it’s so easy to bask in that love and to love them back?

It is truly good to be blessed by people with such a way of life, and even better to then seek to pass on that blessing as a legacy.

I feel this is similar to what this proverb is getting at, that the life and deeds of a righteous person are an ever overflowing resource for others.

For me, the idea of a tree of life here hearkens back to the tree in the garden of Eden, and how it was never eaten of. The tree of life here, though, is an accessible and abundant source of blessing.2327591996_b17c5395fd_o

When one lives in such a way, in living by God’s Word every day with love and godliness, people around them are blessed, and there is much growth of character.

The faithful might never realise how many people they’ve helped to grow closer to God. The goal then is not to count one’s friends as any sort of measure, but to seek godliness by reading God’s word and living by it.

People can be drawn to a righteous person, and it is the role of the godly person to then lead them to God with all eagerness.

This is a very evangelistic message for God’s people, Israel, to bring in many who might be searching for God, and to teach them in all things.

Now, what can we learn as Christians?

All goodness comes from God, and we cannot rely on our efforts to become righteous; it’s all reliant on God’s good pleasure and mercy. The aim for the Christian is to become mature in Christ, who makes it possible for us to become holy. Ephesians has a great passage about growing in Christ (Ephesians 4:7-16).

As servants of the gospel, we ought to be seeking out people to tell of the great gift of Jesus offered to sinners all across the world! May we be wise in this. Amen.

-Thanks for reading! – Pedrozki (Pete)

Thoughts or questions? Have your say in the comments section!

Note: All scripture is taken from Bible Gateway and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John A.Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

Image courtesy of Alexandra Campo

Weigh your heart and words. – On Proverbs 10:19-21

Words have inherent importance. We use them to instruct and encourage, but alsot to rip into people and spew vitriol. What we say affects everyone around us.

Picture this, an interviewer asks a philosopher to share the best way to life a full life. The philosopher says, “A complete repentance from our sins and turning to Jesus Christ as Saviour and King is the best way to have a life to the full. Any other option is denying the power of God in your life.” The whole audience is either railing at him or staring with their mouths hanging open. Words matter.

Words can be used for good or bad. Let’s look at three proverbs that are on the theme of words.

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19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

We all like to chat a lot with friends and family for sure, but something about talking at a mile-a-minute is dangerous and can end with us saying bad things about people or God.

The proverb says we need to hold our tongue, measure how we talk, and chew on our thoughts before we vocalise them. When I do this sometimes I find I don’t have much to say after all.

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Have you ever weighed your heart and the worth of the words that come out? Solomon does that in verse 20 and his verdict of the wicked man’s heart is grave indeed.

20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little.”

This is a hard saying to take. I have a feeling this one would be a difficult one to “copy ‘n’ paste” to Facebook without explaining why the Bible’s language of the righteous/wicked is like this. The righteous man has been given a new heart. He treats everything that he says with care and therefore his words are worthwhile in the view of God. The wicked is bad at heart. His thoughts are without merit because they are from a mind that rejects the goodness of God. He cannot think of good things to say without being completely out of character. That’s not to assume he can’t say nice-sounding words, but they’re of little value on the wisdom metre.

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21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.”

The righteous have words of worth. They might have to guard their tongues, but if they speak with wisdom, they could have a positive influence on others! Words of life come from God, and a man who is after His heart (like King David was) will want to speak what he is reading in the Bible and memorising in his heart. God’s words have power; anyone who has taught young children from the Bible will know that.

The fool has no word of God in his heart to proclaim. He doesn’t believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word from God. He has a dying heart from his rejection of God and inability to receive and retain anything good. The man without God’s intervention is a lost sheep. He will wander aimlessly in defiance, not able to eat of the sustaining food that he needs. Are you a giver of life through God-given words, or are you unable to even sustain yourself? Please, I beg that you deeply consider what your life amounts to and whether you have submitted to your Creator and Sustainer, God, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!

 Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

Words, signals, and choices – On Proverbs 10:10-12

Not everyone who winks means well. Winking is a form of communication that isn’t verbal but rather is an easy signal that can be recognised from afar. Part of this next saying is talking about people who are always making non-verbal communique and doing it out of trickery.

10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble, but a prating fool will fall.”

We do use a lot of non-verbal signals when we talk in Australia, and while I’m sure we aren’t doing it as troublemakers most of the time, winking and other signals in our society can be very sly and can send bad messages. Thought much about wolf-whistling? It’s a highly disrespectful signal of “appreciation” and it is shameful that it gets used here. (Check out Proverbs 6:12-15 for a more detailed account of a man like this.) The second half of the saying is a repetition of the end of verse eight and the message is the same; those who have loose tongues will be brought low because of their indiscretion and rebellious attitude.

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The things that come out of your mouth reflect what type of thinker you are. If you are one who is reliant on God and are continually dwelling on His Word and living in His grace, your words will be good and wise. If you reject God and run life your way (and people better not even dare to tell you your doing it wrong), the words that come out will be selfish and insolent.

 “11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

The first picture here is one who is of God tells everyone about Him! Come to God, they call, for He is your Creator and Sustainer! The second picture shows an angry and violent mute! Anything they try to say comes through the heavy veil of violence and that circumstance is entirely of their own doing.

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12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”

Choices, choices. They affect us. Say your sibling does the unthinkable and deeply hurts you emotionally. Do you choose to get enraged and bitterly quarrel with them and hate them for their actions? Do you choose to swallow your own pride and turn the other cheek and love them unconditionally, despite how they hurt you?

One choice raises both of your hackles and there is fighting and disunity in the household. The other is a far better option, where you pass over the wrong done to you and embrace your sibling, or parent, or friend in forgiveness. What sounds better to you? I know what option appeals to me. Your choice. Amen.

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Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!

 Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

Here lies nobody, dearly departed – On Proverbs 10:7-9

What do you want to leave this earth having done? Having a legacy is important for anybody, any-time. All humans want to go down in history as people well thought of and having a good name. Our first saying here is warning those who are so sure of their reputation that they don’t think their attitude to God matters.

 

7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

 

For some time at least, everyone who dies has memorable characteristics, and this verse is saying for some their actions and name will come to nothing. There are those who think this life is all they get, and so they hope to leave something worthwhile in their name. These people should pay careful attention to this saying. What makes someone righteous or wicked? Simply this, God decides who is seen as righteous or wicked, and that is based on whether that person is in Him or not. Do you rely on God for all your needs? That will be the decider. What do you remember most of what Adolf Hitler did? What about Martin Luther of the Reformation? Both Germans, both having very different memorials.

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8 The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.”

 

We need to be listeners to instruction. To not do so is rejecting what is good for us. To be wise in our own minds is to be foolish, and our rebellious tongue will prove us to be just that. This saying is ‘saying’ we need to be continually willing to learn and obey from those wiser than us. Why is it so hard to sit at the feet of those who deserve our attention? Our selfish pride gets the best of us so often, I think.

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9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

 

The man who cares about his walk in life will guard it well. If he has integrity, that man will ungrudgingly stick with what’s his lot. He doesn’t get dissatisfied with it. It’s not the easy path or the one that will yield fruit straight away, but the alternative is to be laid out to the world as a perverted man. That man’s life is clear for all and who’s inconsistency will be called out and exposed. The man who sticks to his guns will have nothing to answer for, but the man who doesn’t will have a whole lot of questions to deal with. Which do you think is the better way to live? That will define how you yourself live. Amen.

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Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!

 Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

 

Diligent work is valued – On Proverbs 10:4-6

There are life lessons to be learned in Proverbs, and an often repeated one is the value of diligence. In two consecutive sayings we will see two aspects of diligence.

 

4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

 

and

 

5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”

 

In verse four, if we think this over, even if a person is in a high position in a company but has a lazy and uncaring attitude to work, that is going to affect his relations with his boss and he might get fired. Our society nowadays wants everyone to pull their weight, and in Solomon’s day it seems it was no different. It has always been considered a blessing to have a diligent worker who does their job well and efficiently.

 

Verse five deals with this issue during harvest time, the busiest time of the year for farmers. A wise son who knows the importance of that time of year will follow his parents out into the field to help. Having time off school work does not mean he can be slack in the hot weather. It’s certainly hard work harvesting the crop, so surely a rest under a tree during midday would be less stressful for you? Maybe so, but it’s an unscheduled stop and it is highly disrespectful if that is the son’s habit everyday. It’s a waving off of responsibility and compulsion to obey, and is shameful.

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

 

It pays to wear head-wear that fits right and goes well with your clothes. Verse six deals with the results from the actions of the righteous and wicked. The results are pictured here as head-coverings.

The righteous lives by God’s Word and his adornment comes as a pleasing covering of blessings. The wicked has a bit of a harder time. His actions are evil and reflect a person who is forever bent on causing trouble and disunity. His hat is cumbersome and flows over his face with a thick cloth of violence. How annoying, hey? It does really pay to live the lifestyle that will bless you and not lead to violence. That right lifestyle comes from God. Amen.

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Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!

 Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.