Proverbs 31: Teaching Young Men the Essentials
Author: Sally Matheny
Proverbs 31 is often the focus scripture at women’s retreats and luncheons. But, did you know it was originally taught to a young man by his mother?
Two topics that weighed heavy on the heart of King Lemuel’s mother were how to counsel her son to be a wise leader and how to find an excellent wife. So, she taught him two poems concerning these things. Later, these important words were written down and shared with others.
How wonderful would it be if all Christians (not just moms) conveyed these scriptures to the young men God places in their lives—those in their family, their church family, and in the community? Consider these young men as the “sons” mentioned in the scriptures.
Granted our sons may find it challenging to find a woman exactly like the one mentioned in Proverbs 31:10-31. Remember Lemuel’s mom was teaching royalty—hence the mention of the finest materials and food—and maidservants. But, that’s not the focus, or what’s essential, for finding an exceptional wife. (See v.10).
Let’s begin teaching boys before they begin dating, what is important based on God’s Word.
1. She’s trustworthy. Trust is built on a consistent foundation of truth. The husband can trust his wife because she continually “does him good and not evil” (v.12). How to hate what is evil and cling to what is good is clearly outlined in Romans 12:9-14. The only way to do this is by living our lives by God’s standard of truth. It is impossible to do this continually without the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
2. She’s a diligent and cheerful worker. Look in verses 13-24 at how the wife works with “delight.” She takes care of the physical needs of her family and her staff. She makes sound business decisions. Keeping herself strong includes physical, mental, and spiritual health. Managing her time wisely, she provides for the needs of her family while also making time to help those with needs in her community. And she does this “without grumbling or disputing” (See Philippians 2:14-16). Yes, the woman in the scriptures had maidservants (v. 15), but today’s women have electricity, refrigerators, and slow cookers! And, what a blessing if you also have household help!
3. She models strength, dignity, and peace. (v. 25) These are inward characteristics that come from her trust in the Lord. When unexpected challenges arise, she does not wallow in her initial emotional response (external or internal). She does not portray herself as helpless or hopeless. Her behavior is honorable, not causing strife or embarrassment. Determined not to worry, she smiles as she remembers who God is and all He has done.
“The peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7. ESV).
4. She speaks wisdom and teaches kindness. (v.26) Perhaps this is the key to finding an excellent wife. A person can have a thorough knowledge of what the Bible says. But, wisdom is how you apply it to life. Someone once said: “Knowledge learns of God; wisdom loves Him.” “For the LORD gives wisdom. . .” (Proverbs 2:6), so tell the young men to look for women who are genuinely seeking the will of God—through studying the Bible, praying, worshipping, and learning with other believers at a Bible-believing church.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Who are the young men God has brought into your path? Pray for them. Model an authentic, grace-filled faith. Emphasize the importance for them to constantly grow in their own relationships with Christ as they seek godly wives. Guide them through the scriptures. Stress to them not to look for perfection but instead for a woman’s sincere willingness to learn and continually yield to God’s will.
In short, tell that young fella if he wants an excellent wife, marry a woman who loves Jesus more than she loves him. Cherish her and commit to loving her as deeply as Christ loves His church. And, praise the Lord for such a blessing!