Summary: Proverbs 31. Character issues that promote godliness in women are discussed.
CHARACTER QUALITIES OF A GODLY WOMAN
- Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “ No one is poor, who has a godly mother.” Lincoln addresses an issue here that I find most appropriate for us to look at on this Mother’s Day: the value of a godly mother. And though it is Mother’s Day I want to broaden the spectrum to include the value of a godly woman. Because not all women will be mothers; though motherhood is an honorable state. And not all women who will be mothers are mothers right now. So I think it will be beneficial for us to look at what the Scripture says about womanhood in general.
- Before we get started I want to make sure that the men don’t check out this morning. The things we are going to be looking at are just as important to you as they are to the women here. If you are married, these issues will be things that you will want to encourage your wife to excel in. If you are not married, these issues will be things that you will want to look for in a future mate.
- No matter where you are in life, male or female, single or married; your life has been and will be influenced by a mother, or mothers (perhaps outside your family), or by women in general. Women, listen up: this is what the Bible calls you to be. Men, you listen up as well: like it or not your life is going to involve women in some way, shape or form!
- So let’s ask the question “What is a godly woman?” To what kind of lifestyle does Scripture call women? What sorts of character qualities should a woman possess if she desires to be godly? To answer those questions let’s turn to Proverbs 31.
- There have been hundreds and hundreds, indeed, thousands upon thousands of Mother’s Day sermons preached on this passage; but let’s look at it again to refresh our minds and renew our spirits.
Read Proverbs 31:10-31
- Let’s start with v.10. Before we get into any of the character qualities mentioned here, we must address a fundamental question: Why should any female seek to be a godly woman?
WHY SEEK TO BE A GODLY WOMAN? (V.10)
- Let’s be honest. Godliness is not a priority for a lot of women today. Some women have bought into the lie that their worth is found in their stubborn independence; independence from men, independence from God, independence from anything or anyone except themselves.
- You really don’t have to look very hard to see this. Some women are convinced that the essence of womanhood is autonomy. I am woman, hear me roar; that sort of thing. There is no interest in conforming to the biblical pattern of womanhood.
- What we need to understand to get past that sort of thinking is that stubborn independence no more makes a woman, a woman, than it makes a man, a man. Autonomy is not reality when it comes to human relationships. Humans are interdependent; we rely on each other for many things. Even more vital is that humans are dependent upon God.
- A man or a woman is not, as the saying goes, an island unto himself or herself. So this idea that womanhood is the freedom from any and all expectations on a female is false. And the same is true for manhood. Neither state is defined as the absolute absence of responsibility, expectations, or even cultural norms.
- What we are concerned with, however, is the responsibilities and expectations, not of the culture, but those that God has placed upon women in his word. As believers we understand this; though the world does not care to hear us on this matter. And we start with this simple truth: it is a good thing to be a godly woman.
- V.10 says: An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
- The compound word אֵֽשֶׁת־חַ֭יִל (pronounced ish shaw chay il) that is translated “excellent wife” literally means “an able woman”. The word that is translated as “excellent” actually describes the strength, valor, and power of a soldier or army in various places in the Bible. When it is used to describe women it has a special emphasis on moral strength, moral worth, or virtue. That’s why some translations say “a virtuous wife”.
The same word is used to describe Ruth in Ruth 3:11, where Boaz tells Ruth that all of his fellow townsmen: know that [she is] a worthy woman.
- And in the context of the chapter, certainly a godly, virtuous wife is in view here. But I do not think that expanding the thought to include godly women and not just wives is an exegetical stretch. So notice what it says about a godly wife, and by way of application, any godly woman: She is far more precious than jewels.