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A Woman Who Fears the Lord (Mother’s Day 2023)

It’s good to have something like Mother’s Day.  Moms do a lot of unrecognized, life-changing, hard work.  Our passage for the day is the well-known poem in Proverbs 31:10-31 about the woman who fears the Lord.
The Hebrew is 22 verses, each verse starting with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Here’s a couple of quick observations about this passage.  First, the woman exemplifies wisdom.  Second, this is an idealized picture of the woman in poetry.  It is not designed to make any woman feel guilty or like a failure.  Nor is it a measuring standard we are to use on the ladies God has placed in our lives. It is poetry that is designed to praise the woman.
Men, children, and teenagers, listen…
The godly woman (wife/mother) in your life is worthy of praise.
Three times is says that this woman is to be praised.  Verse 28, 30, 31.
So let me say it again, the godly woman in your life is worthy of praise.

The Alternative to Praise

What kind of person is it in this life that doesn’t give praise?  It is the the scrooges of the world who seldom praise. They have an inner sickness of soul that yields criticism, complaining, murmuring, grumbling, sarcasm, suspicion, and a general joylessness.

If that’s you (and sometimes it is me) then it is time to wake up! Open your eyes; there are natural and moral beauties to praise in this world because God made it and is at work in it. Break the habit of grumbling. Start praising.
It’s truly amazing.  If we approach a person in negative and cynical ways the outcome is not good.  In marriage, it is amazing how our spouse responds when we’re negative and critical vs. when we are an encouragers and offer praise.
Why should we praise a woman who fears the Lord?
1 – It honors God
Since the Lord made us all, it is right for us to praise each other in a way that exalts God.  Because God is the source of all good things, then it is God-honoring to call out good and pleasing qualities in another person.  It pleases God when we encourage and praise each other, just as I am pleased when a person praises my son or daughter.
2 – It strengthens her in the Lord
Do you ever need someone to come along and encourage you?  Of course.
People thrive in an environment of encouragement and praise.  When I am praised, it makes me want to strive for excellence.  I want to do better when people tell me that I’m doing good.
Men, do you want to see your wife really bloom?  Praise her.  Kids, do you want to see your mom be twice as awesome as she already is?  Praise her.
Hebrews 10:24-25
What things are praiseworthy about a woman who fears the Lord?
This passage describes an unbelievably energetic and competent woman.  Perhaps the answer to the question of Proverbs 31:10 is “no one”.  This is definitely an idealist description and should not be used as standard by which to measure or critique women.

10-12 – her marriage is praiseworthy
   – Proverbs 12:4
   – Trust from the husband
   – Wife does good to her husband – her diligence is not for herself alone
13-19, 21-24 – her work-ethic and skill are praiseworthy
   – 21 – this wise woman’s only fear is the Lord (v. 30)
   – 23 – why is there a verse about the man here in the middle of this poem extolling the woman?  The implication is that her husband can achieve such a significant status only with the proper support of his wife.

Much of this passage is devoted to her ability as a businesswoman.  Let me address our ladies, particularly in light of the growing amount of families who are homeschooling their children.  

Essentially, this excellent woman expends her energies for her family in a variety of ways.  She is the epitome of the hard worker, eschewing laziness.
20, 25-27 – her character and attitude are praiseworthy
   – 20 – concern and action for the needy
   – 25 – heart is strong & trust is in the Lord
   – 26 – wisdom and kindness
   – 27 – care for her family
28-29 – her family is praiseworthy
   –  children and teenagers – praise and encourage your mother
30 – her spiritual life is praiseworthy
   – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
   – True holiness and virtue command permanent respect and affection, far more than charm and beauty of face and form.
31 – this is an exhortation to all who hear
   – She preaches her own funeral

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