On Thursday, March 1st, 2018, ten people—6 soldiers and 4 policemen—were found murdered by Boko Haram in the governmental headquarters of Rann, Nigeria, after suffering an attack perpetrated by Boko Haram. According to reports, two female humanitarian aid workers were kidnapped1 (though some reports say three2). Because of the warfare, MSF (Doctors Without Borders, aka Médecins Sans Frontières) decided to leave the location for the time being, until the attack had ceased and aid workers were not directly in harm’s way. Please keep these women, their families, and the families of those who passed away in this attack in your prayers.
The selflessness of these female aid workers is a virtue that all women could aspire to. Selfless and brave, these women were made the victims of this ferocious attack… and it brings up the question, “What does a noble woman truly look like?”
These women can reflect a part of that answer; but, to see a virtuous woman in her fullness, we can read Proverbs 31. I know, I know… for many women, this passage of scripture can bring them both awe and discouragement all at the same time. But, in this post, with already reading about and knowing that a woman’s true worth and identity is found in Jesus Christ, I thought it would be practical—and hopefully, encouraging!—for us to study how this woman “who fears the Lord” lives, and what she truly prioritizes (Proverbs 31:30). It’s a little lengthy, but I pray that whatever you do read of it will strengthen you.
The Proverbs 31 Woman
First off, I find it interesting that this description of “The Wife of Noble Character” is parked at the very end of Proverbs, a book known for its Godly wisdom. In Proverbs, “Lady Wisdom” is sought as incredibly valuable (Proverbs 8:11), and it is honestly so affirming that God’s Word speaks of what a wise, God-fearing woman looks like; Christ truly does care about who we are, not only as people, but specifically as women; and He cares about what we do to show who we are.
This being said, I also want to say one thing: Girls, we are going to fail at being “the Wife of Noble Character.” Big time. It’s easy for me to look at this passage and feel overwhelmed at how perfect this woman is, but honestly, our value is not found in if we are the wife of noble character or not. Our worth is placed in Jesus alone, His death, and His resurrection. As many other commentators have said, cannot be everything that this woman is simultaneously; rather, it is a goal, one that we will be growing toward (and shying away from) our entire lives.
Whoever you are, take a deep breath, and allow God’s Word to speak to you.
A woman of God—who knows Jesus Christ personally, and walks with Him daily—is an incredible blessing to any Godly man seeking a wife. This woman, who loves Jesus and is daily enjoying a personal relationship with Him, is described as having the full confidence of her husband, bringing him good, not evil, all the days of her life. Women, make Jesus—spending time with Him, walking in His ways, and being rooted in His Word—the foundation of your life. The more you know and understand Christ’s Love, and the more you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the better you will be at being wise, faithful, and loving towards those around you—including your husband (even if you don’t have one yet!).
Proverbs 31:13-15, 21, 27
She’s sacrificial. As an outpouring of Christ’s Love in her life, the wife of Noble Character makes caring for all those within her household—even at the sacrifice of getting up early to do so—a high priority. This woman’s mind, because of her relationship with Jesus, is on how she can best love the people around her— which is, in this context, her husband, children, and even her “female servants.” She is not up and running around because she has to be; at her core, she is showing sacrificial Love because she knows that that is how God, in Christ, Loves her.
Proverbs 31:16-19, 24, 26
She’s wise and hardworking. Notice how this Wife of Noble Character is not strictly a “stay at home mom”; while this is definitely a role she plays, she also has incredibly important roles outside of the house. Contrary to what many Christian leaders have said about women basically being second-class citizens (citing Genesis 2:18, which I expanded upon, here), 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 supports the idea that, in Christ, women are different from—but not inferior to—men. The woman found in Proverbs 31, knowing that she and those around her are all equal in Christ, uses her God-given brain, hands, and talents to make wise, resourceful business decisions.
More than this, this wife of noble character doesn’t just use her talents for her own profit; she uses all that she is to bring glory to God. This can be seen, perhaps most obviously, in verse 20.
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20, NIV)
She’s generous. This woman, again filled with the Love of God and daily walking in a personal relationship with Him, values those that society marginalizes. As a woman within the historical context of Ancient Israel, women themselves were usually marginalized and limited3. With this fact in mind, the idea of this woman, who is both business-savvy and generous toward the poor and needy, is one that was very against the “mainstream” culture of the day. Though society limited women greatly—and still does, today—God sees women as made in His Image, just as capable as men in Christ to be lovingly generous to all those around, especially the poor and needy.
She’s full of Life. This one can be hard to read, especially for those of you who have suffered for what seems like forever, in whatever situation you are in. But instead of having this verse discourage you, I want to encourage with its Truth: that, in Christ alone, there is always Hope.
Perhaps, at this point, you are hanging on by a thread. Everything and everyone has been stripped from you; you can’t seem to get your bearings on where you are at right now, much less look forward to the future. Your way feels dark. Your past haunts you. You are heavy with grief and an endless amount of questions.
Sister, despite what everything around you is saying, I want to encourage you to cling to the truth– the Hope– of Scripture. This verse does not say that the wife of noble character has a wonderful life; the Bible tells it like it is. Yet, it describes this woman as “clothed with strength and dignity,” and “being able to laugh at the days to come.” What is the source of this woman’s strength, dignity, and joyful outlook on life?
The fact that God has never, and will never, leave her. And that, no matter what has happened, what is happening, or what will occur, He Loves her, and is completely in charge of every day of her life.
The Worth of a Godly Woman
This noble woman is not merely beautiful on the outside (though her beauty is of at least some interest to her– Proverbs 31:22). She is a woman saved by Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection; a woman grounded in the Love of Jesus—a precious treasure, beautiful inside and out, always becoming more like Christ as she follows Him, day by day.
Women are a reflection of who God is—proving that He is a God who Loves true beauty; a God who is concerned with the intimate details of His childrens’ lives; a God who is compassionate, empathetic, and nurturing, always providing for those He Loves. As you look at the women around you, today (including yourself, if you are a woman), praise Jesus for them. See their true worth, in His eyes.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” ❤
(Proverbs 31:28-31, NIV)
Do you know Jesus?
The woman of noble character did not become noble by merely doing everything she is described doing; she did not come to God, all cleaned up because of her own efforts. Instead, she only needed to come as she was, allowing Christ to change her, from the inside out.
Learn more about this God—who Loves us as we are, and does not leave us that way—here.
Please pray for (get your prayer sheet, here)…
- Women in Northern Nigeria. Pray that these beautiful people would come to know Christ, and that much would be done to improve their situation.
- “The Dapchi girls.” 110 young women were kidnapped February 19th, 2018; please pray that they come home, soon.
- “The Chibok girls.” Please pray that the 112 young women still missing would be freed, soon.
- For the salvation of all people. Only when Christ is the Lord and Savior of a person’s life, will all women be seen and treated with real dignity, respect, and love.
How have you treated women? Is it with God-given dignity and love (This includes yourself if you are a woman)? In what ways do you need to grow to be more like Christ—and the wife of noble character? Ask Jesus to cleanse your heart of any sin, and allow Him to work and move in your life in powerful ways.
Thank you for your prayers!