I went over in Part 1 of this series the idea that the virtuous woman had her husband’s trust in her marriage. In Part 2 I explained the virtuous woman’s willingness to work and do good. These lay the foundation for everything that comes after. When a woman has the right foundations in her marriage she can grow upon those foundations in a very blessed way. In actuality, I cannot see how many of the things mentioned in Proverbs 31 concerning the Virtuous woman can be done properly without having the foundations from the first verses, but we will get to that. Here, I want to look at how the virtuous woman manages her home.
She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.Proverbs 31:14-15
As we have seen the virtuous woman’s foundations, we now see the perspective that she is in an executive position in her home as a wife should be! She gets her food from afar and she rises early to set it in order, caring even for her servant girls. The word ‘portion’ here in verse 15 also includes the definitions of ‘enactment’ and ‘commandment’ so it is very likely she was also giving them their duties for the day as well, seeing to her home from a management perspective.
To better understand these verses I felt I had to set some things in order in my own life first. There is no usefulness (to me) studying and applauding a person if there is no applicability to your own life. So, I tried to put myself in her shoes. Would I be able to manage help if I were able to have it? Do I have a plan for meeting the needs in my household as far as feeding them and clothing them? Am I serving them in the ways I need to?
Personally I’ve always struggled with shopping for food wisely, planning ahead, and managing my home and my time. I tried so many different methods, systems, and read so many books, but nothing really ‘clicked’ with my brain in a way I could keep it up. Most of the time I would be so distracted or burnt out I couldn’t endure more than two weeks straight of the same system. This is problematic! How could I be the homemaker and help meet I needed to be if I couldn’t even be consistent for a whole month? I tried everything I could get my hands on until I thought I had tried it all. Then… my pastor’s wife handed me this old book called ‘Sidetracked Home Executives’. It was very very hard to start, took a lot of time and organizing I didn’t think I had in me, but now that the system is going I am hooked! Everything is getting done! I’ll hope to link a book review soon, but until then just know you can keep trying, different things work for different people, but something WILL WORK. Moving back to the topic here…
Now I can honestly say I am ordering and directing my household, and gathering healthy balanced meals for them. Now I can even see the free time I ought to have had all along to be spending developing my own prayer life more, Bible reading, developing my skills on the side, and really just having time to relax guilt free. Thank you Lord for your encouraging word!
So what are we managing in our homes as help meets? Generally speaking, we are ‘keepers at home’ (Titus 2:5) which means housekeepers; we are teachers to our children (Proverbs 22:6) if we have them; and we are the helpers for our husbands (Genesis 2:18) called ‘help meets’. So the management I am meaning here is using your talents and gifts to tend to the home, the children, and the husband in a God honoring and purposeful way. This may look different for individuals as each family has different and unique needs, so I will keep the words general in this article. If you desire to know a more specific route to take, I highly recommend having a good talk with your husband about what he needs from you!
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vinyard.Proverbs 31:16
Beginning with her husband’s trust (vs. 10-11) and continuing with her own willingness to work with her hands (vs. 12-13) we now see the virtuous woman’s ability to invest her gains and look toward long term goals. (Luke 19:17) She has fruit from her labors, she is gaining not stagnating, and she is looking into the future as well by investing and growing what she has. Do you have to grow grapes to be a virtuous woman? No. But as we see in this next verse, you do have to keep moving forward in your spiritual and natural growth.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.Proverbs 31:17
The virtuous woman is strong- inwardly as well as out. Labor will naturally make you strong, work can be exercise; but, these words also carry the depth of spiritual might, gutsy fortitude, and unshakeable courage. How? When looking up the words ‘strength’ and ‘strengtheneth’ from these verses in a Strong’s concordance (I use the one on the eSword app) you can reverse search how the word was translated and used in other places and see the specific meaning of the chosen word. We see that ‘strength’ is also ‘force, majesty, praise, boldness, might’ and that ‘strengtheneth’ is also courage (as in Joshua 1:6-7) and steadfast mind (Ruth 1:18).
Physical strength comes from physical activities, but spiritual strength comes from God alone! Psalms 80:17 says ‘Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.’ We are made strong by God and for God. We serve God in that strength by obeying his word. We must remember to prioritize this strength as ‘bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things’ (1 Timothy 4:8)
I see in the Proverbs 31 woman that God can take any woman who is yielded to Him and make her strong and effective. We don’t see an image of this woman prior to her marriage, but we see who she is in her marriage. We don’t need the same background, childhood, or experience to have the same results. We need God’s grace and a heart to seek after him to succeed.
For success in management of the home I see that you can:
- Start where you are at
- Start with what you have
- Plan ahead
- Seek the Lord continually
- Be successful!
I hope this article encourages you in your growth, seeking, and efforts in your home! Let me know in the comments what you think, and God bless.