Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
High honors await great women. Here is a woman’s dream – children and husband adore her. Every woman chooses daily whether she wants such affection and praise or not. But this measure of character and conduct, though accurate and meaningful, is hard to obtain.
Confidence in herself is not enough, for children and husband know the truth about a woman. They live with her and see every virtue and fault. They can measure her better than anyone else. But for the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, praise is the general result.
Public conduct is not enough. With enough words and planned activities, or even threats to her family to praise her, a woman can appear noble and virtuous to those outside her home. Let her husband and children speak the truth, and you find she is a sow (Pr 11:22)! If only she were fair, but alas, she is Solomon’s metaphor without the jewel of gold!
Most women live between the odious sow (Pr 11:22) and King Lemuel’s mother’s virtuous woman (Pr 31:28). If you are a woman, where do you fall between these two extremes? Do not trust family praise at home, for it is often done to keep peace. Consider what they would tell their confidants. Let this proverb provoke you to good works, for it is godly character – daily conduct of godliness – that wins the prize (Pr 31:30).
Virtuous character is recognized and rewarded. Samuel and Jesus grew in favor with God and men (Pr 3:3-4; I Sam 2:26; Luke 2:52). Israel loved David and exalted his name (I Sam 18:1-5,14-16,30). A gracious woman is always honored (Pr 11:16), and the man with a pure heart and gracious speech will be the king’s friend (Pr 22:11). A good woman will have a good name that is highly respected by others (Pr 22:1; Eccl 7:1).
A wife or mother not honored has a clear problem – she is negligent, odious, or slothful (Pr 11:16; 30:21-23). What is an odious woman? A critical, nagging, overbearing, stubborn, and whining woman that irritates her family! Ever seen one? Ever been one? Are you one? You cannot hide – everyone knows (Pr 11:22; 27:15-16). You are worse than death, and your poor husband and children cannot hide you from others (Eccl 7:26).
Woman, what keeps your children and husband from adoring and praising you? Is it your critical, nagging, and overbearing voice (Pr 31:26)? Is it neglect of your appearance (Pr 31:22)? Is it not adoring and reverencing your husband at all times before the children (Pr 31:12)? Is it selfishness for your own time (Pr 31:18,27)? Is it slothfulness when facing a challenge (Pr 31:17)? Is it lack of creativity in food and decor (Pr 31:14,22)?
What is it? Is it lack of entrepreneurial effort to help build the estate (Pr 31:16)? Is it less than total devotion to your husband (Pr 31:11)? Is it not ruling your spirit to be cheerfully gracious (Pr 31:25)? Is it complaining about your work (Pr 31:13)? Is it not promoting your husband (Pr 31:23)? What costs you the praise of your children and husband?
The virtuous woman never complains about her husband, her work, her children, or her difficulties. She is altogether selfless, never seeking her own pleasure at the expense of the least thing for her family. She is cheerful at all times and nurtures those around her. She surrounds her family with love and fills her house with sunshine. She is a queen.
Children, if you have a virtuous mother like the description in Proverbs 31, it is your privilege and duty to bless her as God’s gift to you and for her own honor, pleasure, and reward before others. Surely you could do a little more and show her some loving favor with a meal out, a vacation, or something else fit for such lengthy and tireless service.
Husband, if God in mercy gave you such a wife, it behooves you to praise her for all she has done for you and your children. How affectionate can you be to give her private and public honor for being such a special woman? How creative can you be to plan and execute something delightful for her that would please her and enhance her reputation?
Woman, are you in touch with reality? What you think about yourself is quite irrelevant. Children and husbands seldom make mistakes. They know if they have a great woman or not. If you have a Christian family, their judgment is that much more accurate. Humble yourself before God and this passage of inspired scripture and be a great woman.