“Who can ﬁnd a virtuous woman?” is the question of Proverbs 31. With this query God points out that His kind of woman is extraordinary – indeed, a rare treasure – when it comes to her inner strength and outward accomplishments. Last time we discovered that this description was originally told in a nursery rhyme to a young prince. Yet, God intended another memorable correlation when He used the word virtuous.
The Hebrew word virtuous is used 200-plus times in the Bible to describe an army. This Old Testament word is used in reference to soldiers and men prepared for war. It describes both an individual and a force that is able, capable, mighty, strong, valiant, powerful, efficient, wealthy, and worthy. Apply this to the feminine case and you begin to grasp the power at the core of the woman described in Proverbs 31. Just as mental toughness and physical energy are the primary traits of an army, they also mark God’s beautiful woman.
These internal qualities enable God’s beautiful woman to manage well her life, her time, her money, her mouth, her home, her relationships, and her self.
- Trustworthy and Honest—Her husband trusts her (vs. 11-12).
- Thrifty—Her skill with ﬁnances enables her to care for her loved ones and increase her property (vs. 14, 16).
- Strong in character—She faces the daily challenges of life (and death!) with undaunted courage (vs. 25, 29).
- Kind—Compassion for the unfortunate governs her life and sweet speech ﬂows from her lips (vs. 20, 26).
- Wise—Walking in wisdom is her way of life (v 26).
- Holy—She wholeheartedly loves the Lord (v 30).
And how, we wonder, does the Proverbs 31 woman do all that God desires of her? We clearly see that her life requires physical energy and vigor. This virtuous and very industrious woman needs physical strength and ability to do the work of her life, the work of love. Observe the strong — and beautiful—Proverbs 31 woman at work:
- She works from early in the morning (vs. 15) until late at night (v 18).
- She works willingly with her hands (v 13, 16, 19).
- She nurses the needy (v 20) and serves her family (vs. 21-24).
- Never idle, she watches over and builds her home (v 27).
As you read this description you may feel somewhat tentative (as I do), fearful of failure, and sober (a life of virtue is not easy). And at moments I even wonder, “What difference will it make if I try to live such a virtuous life?” But that kind of thinking ends when you and I remember that the description of this special woman is in God’s Word: she is God’s portrait, and she reﬂects God’s idea of beauty and God’s design for excellence.
He knows the value of the work He has given us and what it takes mentally and physically to accomplish it. Perhaps we are beginning to realize why this woman of strength is not a threat to be compared to, but “a rare treasure” for us to follow!
A Prayer to Pray: I know you want the same thing I want—to truly be a woman who is beautiful in God’s eyes, to enjoy His approval, His “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). So, join me in whispering a plea to God for strength…
“Lord, I desire to become a woman who, like and army, moves through the challenges and duties of life with virtue, kindness, stamina, endurance, and power—Your power.”
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