Posted by: Ety W. | September 27, 2008

Prov. 31:21 – Faithfully Prepared

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This is part 13 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.  Prov. 31:21

It seems to me that we can glean two points from this verse: the first one obvious, the second one implied.  Let’s start by examining the word “afraid”.

Afraid – Strong’s 3372 – ירא – yare’ = to fear, revere, be afraid; to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared; to make afraid, terrify

Why is the Proverbs 31 Woman not afraid?  Because she is prepared. No matter how severe the winter may be, her household is ready for it.  I’m not entirely certain why being clothed in scarlet provides a sense of security, but the point is that she has no reason to worry.

In a spiritual sense we should ask, what does her confidence really lie in? She may not be afraid for one of two reasons. Either her sense of security is in her own abilities or, having done all that she has been given to do, she trusts in the Lord for the outcome. How can we know which one?  After all,

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Right?  Wrong!  Though often quoted as being from the Bible, this so-called verse is in fact not 1.  Various forms of it can be traced back to early Greek literature, but the most famous version is from Benjamin Franklin’s 1757 Poor Richard’s Almanac.

God helps them that help themselves.  Benjamin Franklin

But is this a biblical concept?  Any student of the Bible and true believer should be quick to point out that trusting in self negates faith.  In fact, the Bible admonishes us not to do so –

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool… Prov. 28:26a

Does that mean that we should relax at our ease, do nothing, and assume that the Lord will take care of us in any disaster that comes our way?  That extreme isn’t biblical either.  As Scripture says,

… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.  1 Thes. 4:11-12

Our lifestyle is our testimony to those outside the church.  In addition to being able to help those in need, our preparedness is a demonstration of our faithful obedience.

Who then is the faithful and sensible servant whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  Matt. 24:45-46

As we saw before, our spirituality is not based on our involvement with the church, but rather on the way we live our lives.  Women have specific God-given responsibilities for their families and homes.  This is in fact one of the most important ministries we are given.  This is the work that the Lord expects us to be doing.  It is not inferior or nonspiritual work, it is excellent work.

Which brings us to the other reason that the Excellent Woman may not be afraid; because she has been faithful in her ministry to her family. How do we know that this is the reason?  Because of verse 30:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Prov. 31:30

The Proverbs 31 Woman is praised because she reveres the Lord.

Two things please the Lord: our obedience,

He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.  John 14:21

and our faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please Him…… Heb. 11:6a

These are not opposites, but go hand in hand.  It is our faith which enables us to obey God’s Word, even when our circumstances, feelings, or the world prod us otherwise.  The Proverbs 31 Woman is an excellent example of faith and obedience working together.  And it’s not without reward.

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying;
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.  Prov. 31:28-31 (NASB)

1Familiar Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature Compiled by John Bartlet, online edition.


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