“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). In our ever increasing immoral society women have indeed come a long way since the times of Solomon. There was a time not so long ago when most women were homemakers and not much beyond that. Today, both men and women co-homemakers and co-providers. In most cases, it requires both men and women to work in order to survive financially. Yes, women have gained equality with man in society. They are doctors, lawyers, executives, business owners, politicians, and members of the Supreme court. However, does all this freedom to succeed in this present life change the role God has designed for women? Specifically, what makes a virtuous woman in today’s society is the same Solomon portrayed thousands of years ago.
The righteous influence of a virtuous mother is graphically portrayed in Prov. 31:10-31. The young evangelist Timothy was blessed to have a pious mother and grandmother, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5). “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makes ashamed is as rottenness in his bones” (Prov. 12:4)
Much of her character shows her reverence for God. “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” v30 She is not. arrogantly and presumptuously proud, but humbles herself before God. She realizes that earthly favors and even fleshly appearance have no lasting value. Fleshly beauty is marred and deranged by sicknesses and sufferings which comes from being a Christian. She realizes that to build a way of life upon such can only be vanity and bitterness in the end. Hers is the inward adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, valuable in God’s sight (1 Pet 3:4).
The righteous commend the honor of those who know them best. The virtuous woman is no exception: “Strength and honor are her clothing” (v. 25). She is unspotted from the world and she has the confidence of her husband. He can “safely trust in her” (v. 11). Most everyone knows that ‘Trust’ is a foundation of any happy and successful marriage. Her speech and manner do not arouse his suspicion and doubt. She is not a flirt with wayward eyes and thoughts. She knows and loves her place in life and handles herself discreetly. She knows she was created to be a help , suitable for her husband. She knows she is to be sober, to love her husband and children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good and obedient to her own husband (Tit. 2:4-5). It has been said that behind every good man there is a good woman. It has been said that all women are angels. Some are God’s angels for man and some are devil’s angels made to destroy man. Thus, a woman can be a blessing or a curse.
“She looks well to the ways of the household, and eats not the bread of idleness” (v. 27). Hers is the sterling quality of cementing her love for her family by diligent devotion to the many tasks that need to be done. Love declared but not demonstrated is indeed worthless. Mothers, are you first teacher and example of your children. What your children will become has a lot to do with how well they are taught by their mother. A good wife is a busy woman for her responsibilities are many.
Look at the virtuous woman in verses 13, 21, 22, 24. “She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.” Who can truly appreciate something done grudgingly? A wife who complains with every stroke of the scrub brush, who gripes, growls and snarls constantly at her family has little difficulty conveying to them that she does not work willingly, hence with little if any love. The virtuous woman has so willingly and industriously labored that she not only has her family supplied in clothing for the winter ahead, but has excess that she might sell to provide other necessities. In many ways, a virtuous woman is a business woman. She is the CEO of her home based business, providing income to her family from within and not without. Today, this business has been taken away from women and given to corporations run mostly by men. This only proves that the work of a virtuous woman is required for any society to properly function.
The virtuous woman is aware of the responsibility to properly feed her family. “She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and portion to her maidens” (v14-15). A man certainly appreciates a wife who can and willingly cooks delicious, healthy meals for him.
All too often household duties are looked upon as hindrances as drudgery. A good wife truly can’t be defined with just one duty. She is a cook, a nurse, a chauffeur, a dressmaker, an accountant, a governess, adviser, a secretary, a gardener, a diplomat, an executive and shopper, and a companion, friend and lover to her husband. Because of physical and spiritual duties zealously performed, she is an economist of time. She “. . . eats not the bread of idleness” (v. 27), and “She rises also while it is yet night . . .” (v. 15). As the old saying goes, “A man works from sun to sun but a woman’s work is never done.” Never is this more true than with a virtuous woman.
We can see the proper balance between the physical and the spiritual in the virtuous woman. Ps. 111:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom . . .” “She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). I believe we can safely conclude that her speaking includes that basic respect she has for the Lord. The “looking well to the ways of her household” would include teaching them of the Lord. “. . . in her tongue is the law of kindness.” This is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Again she demonstrates it by giving to the poor and needy, v. 20.
The reward of the virtuous woman is seen in v. 10, . . . her price is far above rubies.” “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all” (vs. 28, 29). She would not have the honor of those nearest were she not truly virtuous.
Conclusion: I readily acknowledge that an immoral husband can truly blur the image of a virtuous woman. Only a good man can truly appreciate a good woman. The virtuous woman had a husband “known in the gates” and who sat “among the elders of the land” (v. 23). Husbands, fathers do you measure up? Young man, think before you marry. If you want a virtuous wife, marry a virtuous girl. Girls, you have much to learn to make a future home as God intended (1 Tim. 5:14). It begins with making the right choice for a husband. Men, don’t be chasing the women of the world and expect to be virtuous for a good wife comes from God. (Prov 18:22 cf; 19:14)
No, women are not ahead of the household. They are not ahead of the church. They are not preachers and evangelists of the gospel. However, they are teachers of their own children. Faithful, aged, married women are teachers of younger women to be even as they are. If women have unruly children, their husbands are not qualified to be elders and deacons. It takes a virtuous woman to make a good preacher’s wife. It takes a virtuous woman to make an elder’s or deacon’s wife. Thus, the very foundation of the church itself is contingent upon virtuous women. Who can find a virtuous woman? If you are looking for one, first look at the churches of Christ. There you will find a few who still revere God’s Word enough to submit to their own husband, who love and teach their children, who submit to the elders of the church, and to the good Word of God.