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Proverbs 31

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 13, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm


The Bellers are coming home.  Kim and the kids are back on May 24, Caleb arrives on May 29, and we’d like their house to be ready to go

We now have all the items we’ve been looking for, but you can still donate towards the “Beller Fund”.

They’ve got a couple thousand dollars of anticipated expenses ahead, and we’d like to see them enter the country with no debt.


We could use some help on Saturday May 19, 10am, after the Second Harvest Outreach.  We will start at church and head over to the new house, set up beds, and whatever else is needed.
Coordinate with Lisa or Daniel if have any questions

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.

Wisdom is not about knowing facts.

Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.

Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into everyday things.

They are intended to help you lead a better life.

They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, then z will always happen and your life will be perfect”.

They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be generally better than if you didn’t do them.

I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through each chapter.

Though we will read the entire chapter, I won’t be taking time to unpack every single proverb.

God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.

It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.

The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…

Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.

Most of these proverbs are in two lines.

Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first, but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.

We are now in a section of that dates to 250 years after Solomon. King Hezekiah had a group of scholars collect an additional group of 100 of Solomon’s proverbs.

Our final chapter has a new author.

Proverbs 31

31:1-9 Mom’s Advice

:1 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

:1 The words of King Lemuel

There was no king in Israel known as “Lemuel”.

Some think this is a nickname for Solomon.  Lemuel means “devoted to God”.
This is either someone who is a king from another country, or it’s a nickname for one of the kings, perhaps … Solomon.
If it’s Solomon, then his “mother” is … Bathsheba.

:1 the utterance which his mother taught him

utterancemassa– load, bearing, tribute, burden, lifting; utterance, oracle, burden

J. Vernon McGee – “This was a mother’s advice to her son. It makes a great Mother’s Day sermon, by the way.”

Moms often give good advice.  I like this one…

Video:  Nichole Nordeman – Slow Down
Maybe today slow down and enjoy your family a little.

:2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?

:2 son of my vows

Hannah could not have children. She made a promise to God (1Sam. 1:11) that if she got pregnant, she would dedicate her child to the Lord to serve Him.  God gave her Samuel.

Lemuel’s mom might have made a similar vow to God.
His name means “devoted to God” or “belonging to God”

Perhaps his name comes from his mother’s devoting him to God with a vow.

:3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

:3 Do not give your strength to women

strengthchayil – strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

The problem is not that women are evil.

But a man can be destroyed by women.

I wonder if it’s significant that “women” is plural.

Samson was a man with a “women” problem.

With Samson, it was one woman after another, including a prostitute, until he meets up with Delilah, a woman who sold him out to the Philistines for some silver coins.
(Proverbs 31:3 The Message) Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.
Good advice from a mom.

:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;

intoxicating drinkshekar – strong drink, intoxicating drink, fermented or intoxicating liquor

We would translate this “beer”.

(Proverbs 31:4 HCSB) It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire beer.

:5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

If a leader spends too much of his time inebriated, he’s not going to be making very smart decisions.

:6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart.

perishingabad – perish, vanish, go astray, be destroyed

bittermar – bitter, bitterness

heartnephesh – soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

:7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.

:4 It is not for kings to drink wine

The Bible does not condemn the drinking of alcohol.

Yet if you want to be an effective leader, you should think twice before taking that drink.

More good advice from mom.



The Bible does not condemn the drinking of alcohol.
You are not going to hell if you have a beer with your pizza, or a glass of wine at dinner.
I think you can make a case that verses 6-7 give permission to those who are suffering from pain, or who are terminally ill to use pain medication.
(Proverbs 31:6–7 The Message) —6 Use wine and beer only as sedatives, to kill the pain and dull the ache 7 Of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death.

The problem comes when we “self-medicate”, when we use things like alcohol, drugs, or any kind of addiction to mask the pains in our hearts.

The Bible condemn being drunk.
(Ephesians 5:18 NLT) Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

Some folks have an inability to stop after just one drink.  For those folks, it’s critical to stay away from alcohol.

Priests were warned to stay away from drinking any kind of alcohol when they were to work in the Tabernacle because they would be unable to do their duties well – like being able to tell right from wrong. (Lev. 10:8-11)
(Leviticus 10:8–11 NKJV) —8 Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: 9 “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”
Here, leaders are warned to stay away.

:8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

:9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Mom encourages her son the king to stand up for the defenseless.

31:10-31 The Virtuous Woman

This next section could be a continuation of the advice from Lemuel’s mom.

The ancient Jews considered it a separate section, and thought it was written by Solomon.

In the early chapters of Proverbs, we saw two women being contrasted – Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly.

It might be that this last section would take us back to those early themes, as a way of summarizing the entire book.

This is a woman of wisdom.

This is also an alphabetic acrostic.

The first verse begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the next verse with the second letter, etc.

How can you apply this next part?

If you’re a gal – this is an idea of how God wants to work in your life, whether you’re single or married.

If you’re a single guy, this is the gal you ought to be looking for.

If you’re a married guy, this is the kind of gal you want your wife to be if she isn’t already.

If your wife isn’t like this gal, don’t worry because at the end of the message I’ll talk about how to get a new wife.

:10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

:10 Who can find a virtuous wife?

wifeishshah – woman, wife, female

The word for “wife” is the simple word for “woman”.

A gal doesn’t have to be married to develop many of these qualities.

virtuouschayil – strength, might, efficiency

This word is often translated “army” (56 times) or “valiant” or “man of valor” (50 times) in describing men.
It’s also the word translated “strength” in vs. 3 (“do not give your strength to women”)
This is talking about a “strong” woman.  Not physical strength, but strength of character.

Boaz used this word to describe Ruth:

(Ruth 3:11 NKJV) …for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.

:11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.

:11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her



For a marriage to flourish, there needs to be trust.
It’s hard to live with someone you don’t trust.
It’s hard to love or give of yourself if you don’t trust the other person.
There are things that break trust:
Mishandling finances
Broken Promises
Can trust ever be regained when it’s been broken?
Yet it can, but it takes intentional work on the part of both people.
One person needs to show that they are trustworthy, and the other person needs to learn to risk trusting again.

All this takes time.  Trust isn’t regained overnight.

:12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.

:12 She does him good and not evil

(Proverbs 31:12 NLT) She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Sometimes when we’ve been hurt or wronged, we can lash out at each other.

We can hold grudges and be slow to forgive.
And we justify it all by telling ourselves just how painful the hurt was that I received.

Paul wrote,

(Romans 12:21 NKJV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Some of you at this very moment are thinking, “Preach it Rich! Tell them they need to be good to me!!”

I’m not talking about the other person.  I’m talking to you.  I’m talking to the one that’s listening to me.  Do good, not evil.

:13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.

willinglychephets – delight, pleasure; desire

She enjoys her work.

:14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.

(Proverbs 31:14 The Message) She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.

We call this “shopping”.  The virtuous woman is a good “shopper”.


A Woman's Guide to Men's Gifts

(compiled by a virtuous woman)

Rule #1:

When in doubt - buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

Rule #2:

If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a magnetic phone holder or something to hang from his rear view mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.

Rule #3:

Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink. You get the idea. No one knows why.

Rule #4:

Never buy a man anything that says “some assembly required” on the box. It will ruin his Special Day and he will always have parts left over.

Rule #5:

Men love chainsaws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chainsaw. If you don’t know why - please refer to Rule #3 and what happens when he gets a label maker.

:15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.

:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.

:16 From her profits she plants a vineyard

She gets up early.

She works hard.

She handles money well.

:17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.

:17 She girds herself with strength

She doesn’t quit and make excuses, she just gets stronger.


E. M. Gray noted, “The successful person has the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do.  The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose.” 
If you’ve allowed yourself to develop the habit of making excuses, make a commitment to change today.  Trading excuses for excellence opens the door to many of the other positive trade-offs you’ll need to make to be successful.
-- John Maxwell, The Success Journey, (Nelson, 1997), p. 157.

:18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.

merchandisecachar – traffic, gain, profit, gain from merchandise

(Proverbs 31:18 The Message) She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

:19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.

(Proverbs 31:19 NLT) Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.

:19 the distaff … the spindle

These are terms that have to do with weaving cloth.

spindlekiyshowr – spindle-whorl, distaff

distaffpelek – whirl of spindle, stick

:20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

She has the same concern for the needy around her that God does.

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

scarletshaniy – scarlet, crimson; properly, the insect ‘coccus ilicis’, the dried body of the female yielding coloring matter from which is made the dye used for cloth to color it scarlet or crimson

(Proverbs 31:21 The Message) She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

:22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

tapestrymarbad – spread, coverlet

fine linenshesh – something bleached white, byssus, linen, fine linen

purple  argaman – purple, red-purple; a dye made from a shellfish.

(Proverbs 31:22 NLT) She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

:23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.

:23 Her husband is known in the gates


She affects him

The gates of a city were where the leaders would hang out.
It was something like a combination of city hall and the local courthouse.
(Proverbs 31:23 The Message) Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
There’s an old saying, “Behind every great man there’s a woman”.
Do you want your husband to reach his potential?
The Proverbs 31 woman produces this kind of husband.
Our actions affect others.
Peter wrote,

(1 Peter 3:1 NKJV) Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

We may think others change by how often we nag them, but the greater impact is the life we live and the example we set.

:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.

:24 She makes linen garments and sells them

Is it okay for a Christian woman to have a career?

I’d have to say yes.
This gal is a career woman.
She doesn’t neglect her role at home, but notice that she is making and selling things, buying and selling property, planting vineyards, and works very, very hard.

:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.

strength‘oz – might, strength; material or physical; personal or social or political

honorhadar – ornament; splendour, majesty; honour, glory

(Proverbs 31:25 NLT) She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

wisdomchokmah – wisdom

She must have been reading the book of Proverbs…

And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

kindnesscheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

:27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

idlenessatsluwth – sluggishness, laziness

(Proverbs 31:27 NLT) She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

:27 She watches over the ways of her household

Men can do this as well, but sometimes we need a little help.

Video:  Skit Guys - Mom Goggles2

:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:

:29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”

:28 Her husband also, and he praises her

Some of you men might be thinking that your wife is nothing like this “virtuous woman” and you are still wanting me to tell you about how to get a new wife…


An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The boy asked his father, “What is this, Father?” The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life. I don’t know what it is!” While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, as an old lady with a cane hobbled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady stepped into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, “Let’s go get your mother!


How to change your wife

Well first you have to find that mall with the fancy elevator…
Let me add a disclaimer – there is no guarantee that what I’m going to share is going to “fix” anything. Your spouse is a human who makes her own choices.  But what I’m going to share IS what God wants you to be doing as your way of cultivating and encouraging your wife.
(Ephesians 5:25–27 NKJV) —25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Love your wives in this way:
Sacrifice. Give your life for your wife.  Be willing to lay down your rights, even willing to die for her if you had to.

Jesus did these things to us, even when we were wretched and filthy.  He died for us.

Wash her with your words.  Let her know daily how much you love her and how beautiful she is.

You could also try the next line on her as well…if you mean it…

:29 Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all

Gentlemen, when was the last time you said something like this to your wife?

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

favorchen favour, grace, charm; elegance

deceitfulsheqer – lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood

passinghebel – vapor, breath; vanity (fig.)

shall be praised halal – to shine; to praise

:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing


Real Beauty

I’m not sure we really get this in our modern society.
Everything around us is geared towards admiring outward appearance.
(1 Peter 3:3–4 NLT) —3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

It’s not wrong to wear nice things, wear makeup, or have your hair done.

But here’s the challenge for today’s Christian woman:  Do you spend as much time cultivating your relationship with God as you do putting on your makeup?

Jill Briscoe is a gifted teacher. She writes,

One day I had a speaking engagement in Florida and I shared a table with three elegant young women. I felt fat, forty, and somewhat futile.

Suddenly and unexpectedly God inquired of me, “Why do you think everyone is so tense?”

“Competition,” I replied with sudden understanding.

I distinctly heard his next words: “Jill, you’ll never be competition.”

For the first time I thanked God for my ordinary good looks. I could be a big sister to women, a friendly mother, an aunt. I could relax, knowing I would never threaten anyone. God had made me just right for my ministry of teaching women, and that was all that mattered.

-- Jill Briscoe, The Greatest Lesson I've Ever Learned. Today's Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."

Ladies, do you know what kind of peace can come over you when you settle it in your heart to be okay with who you are?
You don’t have to be in competition.
You just need to be close to Jesus.