We’ve heard this passage preached so many times. But that’s okay! Join AMBrewster as he unwraps the first two themes in Proverbs 31:10-31 and helps Christian parents lay a foundation for truly biblical parenting.
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It doesn’t take much to become a parent, but to become a Truth.Love.Parent. requires a supernatural act of God.
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This show is dedicated to glorifying God in our parenting by equipping dads and moms with the Truth they need to become the parents God created them to be.
My name is Aaron, and I welcome you to this community of believers — all of whom are relying on God in this exhausting endeavor to become intentional, premeditated parents.
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Okay, so it’s almost Mother’s Day and to celebrate it we have a special two-part episode called “A Proverbs 31 Mother.” Of course, everything we’re going to study has applications for dads, so — in a way — this is about becoming a “Proverbs 31 Parent” and will be included in our “Biblical Parenting” series that will include these two shows and our Isaiah 11 Father episodes.
Proverbs 3:10-31 will likely be preached in pulpits all over the country this coming Sunday. And that’s not a bad thing, no matter how many times you’ve heard it preached. It’s a fantastic passage filled with practical Truth for application to various parts of our lives.
However, for the next two episodes, I just want to make some focused observations that deal specifically with Christ-honoring parenting.
And, before I jump in, as I said earlier, we have hundreds of free episodes dedicated to a plethora of various parenting questions, issues, and situations. So, if you’re not sure where to start, you could head over to TruthLoveParent.com and click on the podcast tab. There you’ll see the whole show broken up by special guests, episodes by series, episodes by topic, episodes by season, and Top 10 episodes.
No doubt, one of those lists will have something that will resonate with you in your current parenting journey.
Or you could just start with our Pilot Season and work your way through chronologically. Each season builds on the previous ones and fills-out our God-given calling to be disciple-making, Ambassador Parents.
Okay, so, the Proverbs 31 Mother . . . or Father.
I wrestled for a while on the best way to approach this chapter. I considered working through it exegetically from beginning to end. I thought about dealing with it topically. I even considered looking at the passage from a structural standpoint.
However, considering that this is only a podcast, and we’ll not be able to unpack all the glory of this passage in just two episodes, I’ll attempt to equip us to be Ambassador Parents by looking at what I believe are the the four main themes of the passage and deal with some sub-themes.
As I looked at the passage I realized it was built like poetic style I discovered in the early 2000’s. I honestly can’t remember the name of the style, but as poet, I remember enjoying the device.
Basically, it worked like this: The first line of your poem would have one syllable, the following would have two, and so on. You could even have a mirrored version that worked back down to one. The poet could also start with the longer line or increase or decrease by more than one syllable a line — really, it was whatever you wanted.
The style is very flexible and can accommodate any number of poetic preferences. Here’s an example I wrote in 2007. It’s called “Passion to be Growing.”
Now, you won’t be able to appreciate what I’m talking about in terms of line length simply by listening, but when you look at it in our transcript, you’ll see that about which I’m talking. The first line has one syllable and every line builds with ten syllables in the final line.
Now to listen.
Hear with your eyes words
Breathed out from heavenly
Lips. Let Truth smolder in your
Heart. Impossible to receive
Divinity without opening
The Book with a passion to be growing.
In a way, Proverbs 31:10-31 has a similar structure. It has nothing to do with the number of syllables or lines, but when you stand back and look at the shape of the passage, you may notice something very interesting.
I believe the four main themes of this section of Scripture create a sort of “conceptual sandwich.” The bread on either end is one idea, then there are veggies on the very top and bottom of the sandwich. And in the middle of the sandwich is the meat with seasonings intermingled throughout the layers.
The first and last parts of this passage focus on the fact that an excellent mother is extremely valuable.
Then the next inner levels deal with her wisdom. These are like the vegetables in the sandwich simile.
And then the largest middle section deals primarily with the mother’s hard work with examples of her abounding love sprinkled throughout.
It’s quite interesting, but it’s hard to see unless you highlight it in your Bible or do what I did — you can copy and paste it into Word or Pages and then highlight the four main ideas in the passage.
Either way, today we’re going to talk about a biblical parent’s value and wisdom and the corresponding sub-themes, and then next time we’re going to discuss the biblical parent’s love and work, and I’ll include a highlighted copy of the passage so you can better appreciate the structure of the chapter — this conceptual sandwich.
Alright, here goes.
1. A Biblical Mother is Valuable.
Let’s be honest, few mothers aren’t valuable. Even the ones who abandon their children have value in that they played a huge part in gifting the child with life. I would say that the only mother who isn’t a "valuable mother” — per se — would be one who aborted her child.
Now, that’s not to say that a woman who’s had an abortion or a man who’s murdered his children cannot be forgiven and changed by the glory and power of God, but I’m simply pointing out that the vast majority of moms are obviously super valuable people.
But we have to acknowledge that God puts special emphasis on a mother that fears the Lord.
In verse 10 we read, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Now, the passage is going to define what it means to be excellent, but it starts by observing that she’s far more valuable than the rock on her finger . . . or a whole store of them.
And then in verses 28 through 30 we see that “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
This woman is so precious that her children call her blessed and her husband can’t help but praise her with the highest of compliments, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
So, the passage begins by saying that it’s possible to be an excellent mother. But then, at the end of the chapter, we see that many women have done excellent things, but this one particular woman even surpasses the rest in her excellencies because of one key thing . . . she fears the Lord.
This should remind you of the “Teach Your Children to Learn" series which started in episode 207. In fact, we’ll be referencing that series a couple times today because of the overlap of ideas.
The point is, if you want to be this excellent, super valuable, Proverb’s 31 Mother, then the core of your person, life choices, and parenting needs to be the fear of the Lord. I’ll talk more about the significance of this in our next main point, but for now, we all have to ask ourselves if those who know us would say that we fear the Lord. Would our kids say that of us?
So, the passage starts and ends with this focus because it’s the root, the foundation, the very center of the Proverbs 31 Parent.
Now, because she fears the Lord, A. This Biblical Mother is not only valuable to God, but B. She’s also valuable to her family.
In verses 15 and 21 we learn that “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet."
She is valuable to her household.
But she’s also valuable to her husband.
Verses 11, 12, and 23 read, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
Now, I know it’s easy in our post-modern society to experience a wide range of annoyance and anger over the idea that we would be valued simply because what we do for other people.
We all believe in our own intrinsic self-worth. “People should celebrate my existence for no other reason than the fact that I am who I am and there are no others like me!”
But, let’s disembark the Narcissist Train for a moment and focus on reality.
Do I possess value as a unique creation of God? Sure.
Of course, if I refuse to submit to God’s expectations for my life, the whole of Scripture teaches me that my self-centered life is vain, empty, and worthless. We discuss that in some length in episode 224, "Your Parenting is Not in Vain.”
But, does it really matter how amazing you think you are if you are no practical good to the people around you? You may be an extremely talented artist, but if no one gets to see your creations, then know one will celebrate your artistry.
You may be a world-renowned chef, but if you refuse to cook for anyone but yourself, then you can’t expect people to value you for your cooking.
In the same way, as I submit to God’s plan for my life and realize the value He’s created me to have, I will be unable to truly accomplish God’s will in His way for His reasons and in His power unless I am being conformed to His image. And submitting to that will transform me into an Ambassador who speaks the Truth in love. And that will mean that the value I bring to my relationships will not solely be who I am, but what I do because of who I am.
So, yes this mother is valuable to her children because she parents in the fear of the Lord, and that is worthwhile in seemingly mundane ways like providing for the family in verse 15 and obviously significant ways like leading her children in the fear of the Lord in verse 26.
Now, we’ll look at the work this mother does next time, but for now I want us to just reflect on the fact that the most valuable parents on the planet are those who fear the Lord.
That Truth is beautiful, it’s significant, and it runs against the very fiber of our sinful humanity. This is why it takes a supernatural act of God to become the Truth.Love.Parent. He’s called and created us to be.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
And this lends itself to our second point for today.
As you may remember from the “Teach Your Children to Learn” series, the Circle of Learning is something that God has created us, commanded us, and empowered us to travel.
By the way, any episodes I reference during the show will be linked in the description of this episode and on the blog post at Taking Back the Family.
Our fear of the Lord should motivate us to learn His Truth, understand it, and put it to practical use in our lives. The Bible calls that practical application of Truth “wisdom.” Wisdom is not a collection of information nor esoteric experiences, wisdom is the actual elbow grease and footwork required to use the knowledge we have in the various situations we face in life.
So the second main theme concerning the Proverbs 31 Mother is . . .
2. A Biblical Mother is Wise.
The two sub-points of this theme are the application of her wisdom and the consequence of her wisdom.
To be honest, every verse in this passage is an example of her wisdom and what happens when one is wise. But I want to focus particularly on the following verses:
In verses 10 and 30 we again see that her value is tied directly to her wisdom. She fears the Lord and lives accordingly; she is a valuable woman.
But in verses 11 and 12 we read, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”
This is not only A. An example of her wisdom, but B. It shows us the consequence of her wise living — her husband trusts her.
Is there anyone more trustworthy than a wise person? If an individual isn’t wise, we can’t trust them to do and say and think and feel what is right. We can’t trust them to have integrity. We can’t trust them with anything.
Our “Parenting a Zombie” series is all about how dangerous a fool is. A fool is the opposite of a wise man, and fools cannot be trusted to do anything but that which will hurt the fool and everyone around him.
As I already said, every verse in this passage is an example of The Proverbs 31 Mother’s wisdom — the outworking of her spiritual knowledge lived out in her life — but we need to give special attention to verse 26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Wisdom clearly cannot merely extend to what we do, it also needs to apply to all we say. It’s two sides of the same coin. If we’re believing right, our desires will be right, and our actions, words, and feelings will be right as well.
So many moms and dads think they’re doing all the right things. They provide for their kids, impress on them the importance of education, they feed their kids and care for their health, and they try to give them enriching experiences.
But when it comes to teaching their kids and interpreting for their kids, their parenting content is rooted in themselves, the culture, or some mainstream parenting guru.
A good follow up to this point would be our “Rock and Bread and Donut Series.” During those episodes we discuss how it’s so easy to give our kids Rocks and Donuts instead of providing them the live-giving Bread God commands.
When we live like that, our teaching and reproving and counseling and training aren’t rooted in God’s Truth. But a Biblical, Ambassador Parent is going to open their mouthes with wisdom . . . the Lord’s wisdom.
So, how about you moms and dads?
Are you known for having a deep and abiding love and admiration for the Lord? Does that soul-stirring reverence inform your parenting?
If you desire to be a biblical, Proverb’s 31 Parent, then that is the starting point.
Now, those are the two main themes with which I want to deal today. A Biblical Mother and Father is valuable and they are wise.
Their value is rooted in their fear of the Lord and their wisdom lives itself out in all they say and do and results in the fact that those who know them can trust them.
Please share this episode with your friends who desire to be more biblical parents and join us next time as we study the remaining two themes from Proverbs 31:10-31.
Yes, it’s a big, exhausting, supernatural task to be Truth.Love.Parents., but God has the way and we are here to help you walk it.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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