By Lowell D. Kibler
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10, KJV). In our ever increasing immoral society women have indeed “come a long way, baby.” Our “playboy” philosophy has led our women to lose their virtue, to dishonor their God-given role in the home, to become “sex symbols” in show biz, to seek “equal rights” which ‘often is little more than unhindered display of profanity and immorality as though none else had any rights of protection from such, and to join the labor task force, all too often at the expense of the serenity and security that God intended the home to be. The generations that follow, having been spawned in ungodliness can only wax worse and worse. Children, repulsed by hypocrisy, rebel against the “old man” and the “old lady.” Not having seen nor been taught respect for authority they have little. Dear reader, our nation is in trouble because the home is in trouble. As the home goes, so ‘goes the nation. God intended that women play a significant role in the home. Someone has well written, and it applies in all things, “Are you part of the problem or part of the answer?” In a day in which being a housewife is looked down upon, we need to heed these words of Daniel Webster, “If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal souls, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of the Creator and love of fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten all eternity.”
The righteous influence of a virtuous mother is graphically portrayed in Prov. 31:10-31. It is recommended that you turn and read these verses now, as they will constitute the basis for much that follows. The young evangelist Timothy was blessed to have a pious mother and grandmother, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5). “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones” (Prov. 12:4). Let us look at Clark’s definition of virtuous taken from his commentary on Prov. 12:4, “A strong woman. Our word virtue (virtus) is derived from vir, a man; and as man is the noblest of God’s creatures, virtue expresses what is becoming to man; what is noble, courageous, and dignified: and as vir, a man, comes from vis, power or strength; so it implies what is strong and vigorous in principle; the denomination of all excellent moral qualities; and is now applied to what ever constitutes the system of morality and moral duties.” A person could be said to have virtue when they are capable of making distinction between right and wrong, when their character and conduct conform to that which is noble, pure, and right. Perhaps with this in mind, and with a brief look at the Bible description of a virtuous woman, we will be better informed and equipped to help reverse the breakdown of the home in our society.
Much of her character is seen in verses 25-31. Verse 30 shows her reverence for God. “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Not only does she have faith in but she respects Him who made the world and all that is in it. She is not. arrogantly and presumptuously proud, but humbles herself before the great I AM. She realizes that earthly favors and even fleshly appearance have no lasting value. Fleshly beauty is marred and deranged by sickness and suffering. It is completely gone in death. She realizes that to build a way of life upon such can only be vanity and bitterness in the end. Hers is the inward adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, valuable in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding, have all they that do his commandments . .” (Psa. 111:10). One does not truly have wisdom and , understanding while without fear of the Lord. This is the only foundation upon which any person can build a meaningful life, especially a mother.
The righteous commend the honor of those who know them best. The virtuous woman is no exception: “Strength and honor are her clothing” (v. 25). She is unspotted, she has.the confidence. of her husband. He can “safely trust in her” (v. 11). Her speech and manner do not arouse his suspicion and doubt. She is not a flirt with wayward eyes and thoughts. She knows and loves her place in life and handles herself discreetly. She knows she was created to be a help , suitable for her husband, not a ball and chain tied to his leg. She knows she is to be sober, to love her husband and children, to be discreet, chaste (not chased), a keeper at home, good and obedient to her own husband (Tit. 2:4-5). It is very doubtful that her husband would praise her (v. 28) if she did not practice these things. If all mothers were so disposed, there would be little “soap-opera” material today. It has been said that behind every good man there is a good woman. A woman can be a blessing or a curse, an angel or a Jezebel. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman” (Prov. 21:19).
“She looketh well to the ways of the household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (v. 27). Hers is the sterling quality of cementing her love for her family by diligent devotion to the many tasks that need to be done. Done with a song on her lips and love in her heart, she works willingly and not grudgingly, creating an atmosphere of warmth and security.: But, oh, how often do we see immature teen-age brides today not even knowing how to cook an egg, wax a floor, or keep a house orderly and attractive. After a few months of eating out and living in a pigpen, the new husband cannot resist the nagging doubt of his wife’s love as she lays around reading romance stories of adultery if she is not watching the same on the daily TV programs while her child crawls around in the filth in danger of being hit on the head from a dirty pan falling from the high stack in the kitchen sink. Love declared but not demonstrated is indeed worthless. Mothers, are you teaching and showing your daughter the importance of such basic, common-sense necessities for success in life?
Look at the virtuous woman in verses 13, 21, 22, 24. “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” I want you to focus your attention on the word “willingly.” Who can truly appreciate something done grudgingly? A wife who complains with every stroke of the scrub brush, who gripes, growls and snarls constantly at her family has little difficulty conveying to them that she-does not work willingly, hence with little if any love. But in contrast, we can see in verses 21, 22, and 24 that the virtuous woman has so willingly and industriously labored that she not only has her family supplied in clothing for the winter ahead but has excess that she might sell to provide other necessities. Can you imagine this woman allowing her daughters to parade around in provocative clothing while offering the flimsy excuse, “Well, that is all. you can buy at the stores these days.” What happened to the old-fashioned ingenuity and industry? In those days, they not only made the garments but also the cloth. I strongly suspect she made enough for more than a mini-skirt or bikini. Today with all our conveniences of ready made cloth, frills, and sewing machines, ,mothers’ seemingly cannot master the difficult art of lengthening a dress or making one of the proper length.-I suspect it is more unwilling than unable, of being more worldly minded than spiritual.
The virtuous woman is aware of the responsibility to properly feed her family. “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 portion to her maidens” (vv. 14-15). It has been well said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. A man certainly appreciates a wife who can and willingly cooks delicious, healthy meals for him. Daughters allowed to grow up and enter marriage without this basic skill has indeed been neglected by her mother or herself.
All too often household duties are looked upon as hindrances as drudgery. Perhaps this poem will help. I do not now know the author.
It sounds so unimportant
“A housewife” so they say,
And yet how many people
She must be every day.
A cook, a nurse, a chauffeur,
A governess, adviser,
All steps in her career.
A secretary, a gardener,
A diplomat as well–
Executive and shopper,
But still there’s more to tell.
Companion to her husband,
Must always look her best,
And be a tireless creature
The house should be in order
If she’s at work or at play,
It sounds so unimportant,
“A housewife” so they say.
We can see the proper balance between the physical and the spiritual in the virtuous woman. Psa. 111:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom . . .” “She openeth her mouth.with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). I believe we can safely conclude that her speaking includes that basic respect she has for the Lord. The “looking well to the ways of her household” would include teaching them of the Lord. Too many mothers allow TV to occupy much of the short and precious time we have to teach them of the word and ways of God. “. . . in her tongue is the law of kindness.” This is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Again she demonstrates it by giving to the poor and needy, v. 20.
Value of Time
Because of physical and spiritual duties zealously performed, she is an economist of time. She “. . . eateth not the bread of idleness” (v. 27), and “She riseth also while it is yet night . . .” (v. 15). There will always linger in my mind the memory of a mother who was up before the break of day to tend not only to outside chores on the farm but to see that her family had a hearty breakfast. She was busy all day and yet after set of sun with a song on her lips. I doubt she will ever realize the value of the time she took to read her son some Bible stories.
Mothers, do you allow an idle mind to become the devil’s workshop?
The reward of the virtuous woman is seen in v. 10, . . . her price is far above rubies.” “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellent them all” (vs. 28, 29). She would not have the honor of those nearest were she not truly virtuous.
I readily acknowledge that a slothful and immoral husband can indeed mar the home picture, but he does not come within the scope of this essay. The virtuous woman had a husband “known in the gates” and who sat “among the elders of the land” (v. 23). Husbands, fathers do you measure up? Young man, think before you marry. If you want a virtuous wife, marry a virtuous girl. Girls, you have much to learn to make a future home as God intended (1 Tim. 5:14). It begins with making the right choice for a husband. Rare are those capable of doing so at the tender age of 16. Determine to so live that when you are an aged mother, the following poem could be said of you:
A Portrait of Mother
Paint her as you see her, artist,
Let the lines and wrinkles show,
And the silver hair that crowns her
Like a halo’s beauteous glow.
Can you picture on your canvas
All the years of sacrifice,
How she tended well her household,
Ever counting naught the price?
Let your brushes tell the story
Of her patient toil and care,
Mingle love with joy and sorrow
Just as life has put them there.
Blend your colors softly, artist
Face her toward the setting sun,
Smiling-calm-serene and peaceful,
For her task is almost done.
Call the portrait simply, `Mother,”
All the world will understand;
Nations thrive and empires prosper,
Guided by her gentle hand.
(author unknown to me-LDK)
Truth Magazine, XX:1, p. 5-8
January 1, 1976