THE WISE WOMAN'S
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." GENESIS 1:26
As we begin this chapter, let me ask you a question-"Are
you a Christian woman or a woman who is a Christian?" On
the surface, both appear to be identical. However, it is one thing
to describe yourself as a Christian, and it is another thing tobe one through and through. A woman can call herself Christian
but not really live according to scriptural guidelines and be
transformed by the Spirit of God. She may be theologically
sound but practically inept; and as James teaches, Christians
are to, "prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely
hearers who delude themselves" (James 1:22). The second portion
of the question describes the woman who, by her lifestyle,
clearly demonstrates that her values and character align with
the Word of God. Let's take a look at what God's Word says
as you consider your response to my question!
A SNAPSHOT OF THE WISE WOMAN
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. PROVERBS 14:1
In the first chapter of Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God
we introduced the woman whose lifestyle, values, and character
align with the Word of God. We established that Proverbs
31:10-31 paints a word portrait of the character of the woman
who is a Christian. We twenty-first-century women are challenged
to follow her example. The immutability of God is in
question if Proverbs 31:10-31 is not relevant. We looked at the
six attributes of God that provide a solid foundation for our
study of Scripture:
God's life does not change.
God's character does not change.
God's truth does not change.
God's ways do not change.
God's purposes do not change.
God's SON does not change.
Since God is immutable, a Wise Woman cultivates a lifestyle
that reflects that she believes His principles are essentially the
same realities for twenty-first-century Christians as they were
for those of the Old and New Testaments. We learned that the
description of the Wise Woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 is not designed
to develop an inferiority complex within us-rather it
provides a biblical foundation for the creation of principles
by which we, as Wise Women in progress, prioritize our lives.
We then examined eleven characteristics of Wise Women-Virtuous,
Trustworthy, Energetic, Physically Fit, Economical, Unselfish,
Honorable, Lovable, Prepared, Prudent, and God-fearing.
Let's take a moment to reflect on the heart of these principles:
Virtuous (31:10) describes an inner quality that instinctively
demands respect. Moral excellence characterizes all
of this woman's behavior (Ruth 3:11).
Trustworthy (31:11-12) is indicative of the ability to keep
another's confidence. Our Wise Woman's speech is encouraging, sympathetic, and tactful (Proverbs 25:11). Her
love of the Lord is evident (John 14:15), and dependability
is exhibited in her lifestyle (Proverbs 25:13).
Energetic (31:13-16, 19, 24, 27) suggests that our Wise
Woman is a worker and not a shirker (Proverbs 10:4). Her
Christianity is practical (James 1:17); she enjoys her work
(John 4:36), and attacks it with a cheery attitude (Colossians
Physically Fit (31:17) reminds us that to perform our duties
efficiently we must be healthy. As Wise Women in
progress we seek to understand our personal limitations
and then work within them (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Economical (31:18) challenges our wise woman to refrain
from wasting time, money, fuel, or any other resource. She
operates her home on a budget (a plan for spending) and
at the end of the month there is not "too much month
left at the end of the money."
Unselfish (31:20) depicts her willingness to share her most
valuable asset-her time-with others. Practically speaking, a Wise Woman is not so busy with her own affairs
that she can't lend a helping hand to others. Her words
bring comfort, hope, cheer, and, when necessary, correction
to those who touch her life (Galatians 6:10).
Honorable (31:25) characterizes her choice to "abstain
from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). She
dresses modestly and understands the importance of maintaining
a reputation of integrity (Proverbs 22:1).
Lovable (31:28-29) embodies the consistency of her lifestyle.
She enjoys relationships that have depth because she
seeks to sharpen her friends spiritually and intellectually
Prepared (31:21-22) includes our Wise Woman's ability
to cope with unforeseen circumstances with confidence
Prudent (31:26) implies that our Wise Woman is practically
wise and careful of the consequences; that is, she is
cautious. As she speaks she has the ability to be firm, yet
kind (Proverbs 27:9).
God-fearing (31:30) suggests that her actions and lifestyle
consistently reflect that she stands in awe of the Lord
(Proverbs 1:7) and loves Him with all of her heart
We then examined Proverbs 31:31 which describes the reward
of cultivating the eleven principles. The Wise Woman receives
her rewards "in the gates," which refers to the public
assembly of people; she is often rewarded in this life and always
in the hereafter (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 4:1-21; 5:10; Revelation
"Jesus said, 'You were faithful over a few things, I will make
you ruler over many things'" (Matthew 25:21 NKJV). He meant
that a person who is faithful in serving the Lord here would
be rewarded with an honored position in His millennial kingdom.
Our Wise Woman lives in such a way that Jesus' words
in Matthew 25:21 characterize her daily life.
THE WISE WOMAN PURSUES WISDOM
The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. PROVERBS 4:7
Becoming a Wise Woman was the theme of Becoming a
Woman Who Pleases God, as it is in this volume. The book of
Proverbs reminds us repeatedly that if we choose to live wisely,
our lives can be rich and abundant now, as they will be forever
in eternity. First Kings 3:3-15 describes a prayer of Solomon's
which serves as a model for all Wise Women in progress:
1. Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the statutes of his
father, David (3:3).
2. He was privileged to experience a unique, two-way conversation
with the Lord (3:5).
3. He viewed his succession to David as evidence of the
Lord's faithfulness to His promises to his father (3:6).
4. He humbly admitted his inadequate qualifications for the
position the Lord asked him to assume (3:7).
5. He petitioned the Lord for an understanding heart to
judge His people (3:9).
6. He received what he did not ask for (riches and honor)
because he sought God's wisdom first (3:13).
Application of Solomon's prayer for twenty-first-century
women may include:
1. Loving the Lord completely (Mark 12:30).
2. Communing with God through prayer (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
3. Believing that her heavenly Father will complete the good
work He has begun in her (Philippians 1:6).
4. Understanding that she can only complete her Father's
work through His strength (Philippians 4:13).
5. Seeking the Lord's wisdom rather than relying on her
knowledge and experiences (James 1:5).
6. Trusting that God's ways are best (Proverbs 3:5-6).
While embracing the positive attributes exhibited by Solomon,
our Wise Woman will be careful to avoid the fatal errors
that were a part of his character. Though he walked in
the statutes of his father and loved the Lord, his choice to continually
worship at the high places demonstrated that he failed
to follow Him completely (1 Kings 3:3). As well, he chose to
live life on his own terms rather than personally applying the
truth. A Wise Woman identifies the "high places" in her life,
and she seeks, through God's strength, to "utterly destroy"
them (Deuteronomy 12:1-7). She purposes to skillfully apply
biblical truth to practical living (James 4:17).
THE WISE WOMAN IS GRACIOUS
A gracious woman attains Donor. PROVERBS 11:16
Gracious is a word that we don't hear very often anymore. Biblically,
the word gracious describes one who has a kind disposition
and shows favor and mercy to another. For example, Boaz showed
favor to Ruth (Ruth 2:10), and King Ahasureus' treated Esther graciously
(Esther 2:17; 5:2). It is worth mentioning that these women
treated these men with kindness and gentleness from the start,
which in turn led to favor being bestowed upon them. Practically
speaking, a gracious woman will be pleasant, kind, merciful, compassionate,
and characterized by good taste.
Our heavenly Father sets the model for graciousness toward
others in Exodus 34:6: "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate
and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness
and truth." Psalm 86:15 (NKJV) portrays God as "full of compassion,
and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and
truth." Psalm 103:8 (NKJV) declares, "The Lord is merciful and
gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy," and Psalm
145:8 (NKJV) affirms, "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and great in mercy."
The book of Proverbs provides several strategies for the
integration of graciousness into the Wise Woman's life. She
extends graciousness to the poor and needy (Proverbs 14:21,
31; 19:17), speaks graciously (Proverbs 22:11), and exemplifies
graciousness in her behavior (Proverbs 11:6). John
MacArthur's analysis of Proverbs 11:16 suggests, "While evil
men may grasp at wealth, they will never attain the honor due
a gracious woman." Elizabeth George assists us in understanding
the characteristics of a gracious tongue:
Suppose you were in the presence of a woman who was thinking
about God and enjoying sweet communion with Him as her
thoughts ascended to His throne in prayer, who was continually
absorbed in some portion of God's Holy Word, who was perhaps
humming a hymn of praise to God. If you began to talk to one
another, what do you imagine would come out of her mouth?
I think you can safely answer something like this: You would hear
words of blessing, words filled with graciousness and sweetness
from such a woman. Tumbling forth from her lips would be
soothing, healing words of comfort or uplifting encouragement, whichever was appropriate. Certainly you would witness words
of mercy, concern, and compassion.
The adjective gracious is found five times in the New Testament.
The noun grace is used some 155 times, usually to describe
what God did for us in Christ (Romans 5:2, 15, 17; 1 Corinthians
15:10, and Ephesians 1:20). The five instances of gracious
provide a challenge for our Wise Woman and are worth taking
a look at:
Luke 4:22 reports that all who heard Jesus speak in the
synagogue wondered at the gracious words that proceeded
from His mouth.
Luke 7:42 describes the gracious forgiveness of the
moneylender to his two debtors.
Romans 11:5 explains that because of God's gracious choice a remnant of Israel would come to faith in Him.
Second Corinthians 8:6-7 refers to the gracious Macedonians'
work of giving and urges that the Corinthians'
giving align with them.
Second Corinthians 8:19 refers to the Corinthians' gracious work of giving that was urged in 2 Corinthians 8:6-7.
Practical application of these verses finds our Wise Woman:
always seeking to speak graciously,
completely forgiving the wrongs of others,
willingly sharing her faith,
practicing generosity, and
prayerfully considering others' urging of her generosity.
Recently one of our Home Economics graduates married the
son of one of our seminary professors. The wedding ceremony
was held in Georgia, the home state of the bride. Since the bride
and groom reside in California, the groom's parents hosted a
dinner reception in their California home several weeks later.
Since I know the groom's mother, Karen, I offered to help
with the serving and cleanup of the reception. The gracious spirit
Karen exemplified as she executed the lovely occasion blessed
me. Her choices that serve as a model to all women desiring
to be gracious hostesses include:
She was willing to allow others to help. So many women
have such a "Martha" complex that they are unwilling
to allow others to share in the labor of an event. Working
together is often what builds strong relationships.
She had written instructions and diagrams that eliminated
the need to interrupt her when she needed to be with her
Once she gave an instruction, she allowed her helpers to
follow through on the task without hovering over them.
She was careful to express her gratitude.
The Wise Woman will be excited about integrating graciousness
in her own life, as well as training others to follow her role
THE WISE WOMAN'S WALK
Therefore be careful how you walk.
not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. EPHESIANS 5:15-16
Our study of the Wise Woman teaches us a significant character
quality. Her heart is open to learning from the wisdom and
experience of others. Biblical wisdom "is both religious and
practical. Stemming from the fear of the Lord (Job 28:28; Psalm
111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10), it branches out to touch all of life,
as the extended commentary on wisdom in Proverbs indicates."
Wisdom takes insights gleaned from the knowledge of God's
Word and applies it to one's daily walk.