December 15, 2017


Proverbs 31

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The Words of King Lemuel

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

  What are you doing, my son?1 What are you doing, son of my womb?
    What are you doing, son of my vows?
  Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
  It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to take strong drink,
  lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
  Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
    and wine to those in bitter distress;2
  let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
  Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.3
  Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10   4 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11   The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12   She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13   She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14   She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15   She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16   She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17   She dresses herself5 with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18   She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19   She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20   She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21   She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.6
22   She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23   Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24   She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25   Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26   She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27   She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28   Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29   “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30   Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31   Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.


[1] 31:2 Hebrew What, my son?
[2] 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul
[3] 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away
[4] 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet
[5] 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins
[6] 31:21 Or in double thickness


Key Verse | Proverbs 31:1, 30

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: . . . [A] woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(Proverbs 31:1, 30b)

Central Truth

Proverbs 31 gives us the qualities of a woman a mother would pick for her son. But take heart, ladies. If you fear the Lord, you will be worthy of praise!

Devotional | Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31:1 tells usthat this ideal woman is the one Lemuel's mother would pick for him. I can relate to that. Some of thegirls I dated did not pass Betty Crotty's test for the woman she would pickfor my wife. My...

Proverbs 31:1 tells us that this ideal woman is the one Lemuel's mother would pick for him. I can relate to that. Some of the girls I dated did not pass Betty Crotty's test for the woman she would pick for my wife. My mom was special. You always knew where she stood on any topic. And she was not shy about sharing her opinions—whether she was asked or not. She was pretty, refined, strong-willed, and the possessor of a heightened sense of good taste. But best of all, she loved her Punkin—me!

Betty was quick to let me know when the girls I brought to meet her did not meet her high standards. Don't get me wrong—she did like some of the girls I brought to meet her. But she was a tough judge.

So how did my bride pass Betty's test? Well, it took a while—we dated for two years. And Betty grew to love Sarah. How did I know? For the first dinner Sarah cooked for my parents and grandmother as my new bride, my mom and grandmother both arrived wearing white gloves as if they were going to perform a white-glove inspection to see how well Sarah kept house. And they were both giggling so much they could not stop. Needless to say, it broke the ice, and Sarah was welcomed into the family with love and good humor.

But it was during my parents' last illnesses that Sarah demonstrated why she really belongs in the Proverbs 31 pantheon. She cared for them like they were her own parents, visiting them daily, singing to them, reading Scripture to them, and caring for them in a loving way that went way beyond a daughter-in-law's duty.

So how does a girl become a Proverbs 31 woman? The key is in verse 30: "[A] woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Maybe no woman has done or even can do all the things Lemuel's mother outlined in Proverbs 31:10-31. But any woman can learn to fear the Lord.

Sarah does.

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Bio | Bobby Crotty

Bobby Crotty. Son of Betty, husband of Sarah. Father of two; grandfather of Harry, Rob, Cooper, Addie Bell, and Libby. Love my kids and their families! I have had the good fortune of having more than two Proverbs 31 women in my life, but I want to tell you about two of them today. Keep reading.

Discussion Questions

1. What does it mean to "fear the Lord"?

2. Ladies, what can you do to learn to fear the Lord? Men, how are you doing in leading the way in fearing the Lord? How can you recognize whether a woman fears the Lord?

3. Ladies, of all the qualities listed in Proverbs 31:10-31, which do you already possess? How can you help other women develop those qualities? Which do you wish to possess? What can you do to develop those qualities? Pick one to focus on this week. Men, what can you do to help the women in your life develop these qualities?

This marks the completion of the thirteenth year of The Journey! We hope that you have enjoyed reading through Psalms and Proverbs and that doing so has helped you learn in your own life what it means to fear the Lord. Take a minute and leave a comment about how this year on The Journey has impacted your relationship with the Lord and others. Share your favorite verse from Psalms or Proverbs. Your comment will bless and encourage others on The Journey.

The Journey will return on January 1, 2018, as we start Year 14 of The Journey. We hope you will join us in 2018!

Thanks for being part of The Journey family!

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