Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
Sometimes as humans, we are our own worst enemy. This chapter is about making choices that are wise for the long haul, that is, about being our own best friend. Someone said that a great marriage is like a first rate hotel, expensive but worth it! Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate but through being the right mate. Another said, a little more humorously, all marriages are happy, it is the living together afterward that causes all the trouble! One wise guy said that marriage means commitment, of course so does insanity!
We are going to focus on the role of a wife and mother in this chapter, because Proverbs plainly lays it out. Proverbs 14:1 is a contrasting proverb. God puts a wise person next to a foolish one and shows us the difference. The words foolish and wise are Bible words. They are not meant to be condemning, but rather descriptive. Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is just saying, “Here is what I have observed over my life.” We get a first hand look at what it is that strengthens a family and what weakens it.
Four Ways a Wise Woman Strengthens her Family:
1. She is Fruitful
Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house…” Notice that she “builds.” In the Hebrew language the common word ben means “children of.” The word “house” is a common metaphor for the word, “family” or “children.” A wise woman is a builder, that is, she helps build a heritage.
When a wife is fruitful through having a good number of children as the Lord gives them, then according to scripture, she is a builder. God told Adam and Eve to, “…Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28) Clearly, God explains that He wants His children to be fruitful, or fertile as the common phrase would be today. God also calls us to “replenish.” When you replenish something you bring it back up to where it was originally. If someone asks, “would you like me to replenish your tea?” My answer is, “Yes, fill it back up.” When we replenish a family, we bring it back up to the original call of God. I have never found a place in scripture where the command given to Adam and Eve 6,000 years ago, was rescinded. It is obvious to me that God still wants many children to be born. Consider what would happen if a Christian couple was free to decide on their own, without God’s input, if they wanted children or not. It is likely that many couples, because of the expense involved of living in today’s world or the challenge of raising a larger family, would forego child rearing. Well, in just about two or three generations then, we would have very few Christian homes, if any, all because they opted not to “replenish.”
What does it take to replenish the earth today? According to Rickety Studies the total fertility rate (TFR) has been declining since 1950. If you go to third world countries, where there is a higher rate of infant mortality because of poor medical care, then the “replenish rate” is almost four children. That is, it takes about 4 children per family to keep the population even. Worldwide, the average number of children necessary to keep the population even is between 2 and 3. Which means every couple in that particular nation needs to have slightly more than 2 children to replace themselves, and then 1 to allow for mortality. The point is, that it takes a good number more than just 2 children to actually replenish. There are many countries in the world today, that are actually in what sociologists refer to as a “birth dearth.” A birth dearth is a term for the state of a country that has a birth rate that is falling behind in replenishing. About the only nations today that are growing are some of the equatorial countries in Africa and a few of the Arabic nations like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Every other country on the face of the earth has an aging population. And in places like China, the birth dearth is epidemic, largely because of the government’s childbirth laws. But these laws have now become part of the public mindset. Those laws and also poor economic conditions, convince most families to only have one child. Because of the lack of replenishing, other places like France, Spain and even Russia, are now actually giving financial incentives for couples to have more children – go figure!
But notice, this verse doesn’t say just to replenish the earth. If it stated that, then perhaps we would say 3 children is enough. But God very clearly says to His people that He wants them to multiply. The Hebrew word multiply means “numerous, to increase exceedingly. Simply stated, God wants us to have a bunch of children! Of course, it makes a lot of sense for Christians to have many children, especially if they grow up and live godly lives. What a huge impact godly generations can have, not only on a future family tree, but a region and even a nation!