If you’ve never read Proverbs 31:10-31, go ahead and spend a few minutes reading through these verses so you can get an understanding of what we’ll be talking about this week in Becoming More.
Before we go any further with this chapter though, let’s learn a little history so we can understand what this passage is really all about. We see at the beginning of Proverbs 31 that this is something King Lemuel was taught by his mother. This is NOT a measuring stick or a list of behaviors to strive for. This is NOT a checklist of things we must do to be a godly woman. This is a search-list for a man! This chapter contains advice from Lemuel’s mother on how to be a man of virtue and what to look for in a wife of virtue. She tells him to stay sexually pure, avoid drunkenness, defend the defenseless, and search for a woman of valor (Esheth Chayil in Hebrew).
Let’s spend a little time talking about the phrase, “Esheth Chayil.” The word Esheth simply means woman; the word Chayil means strength, wealth, army, and is a masculine word typically used for men of valor who win wars and battles. For these two words to be used together was quite strange. As a matter of fact, these two words appear only twice in the Bible, here and again in the book of Ruth to describing Ruth as a woman of valor. (We’ll be talking about Ruth’s story for the next three weeks in Becoming More Trusting!)
The woman described in Proverbs 31 didn’t just have life handed to her. She fought valiantly through trials and difficulties and achieved this character and virtue through enduring painful seasons of her life. She is rooted and grounded in God’s wisdom, fears the Lord, and follows Him fully. It is not what she does that makes her a woman of valor, but how she does it and Who is working in and through her that makes the difference. The behaviors listed in Proverbs aren’t a check-list of things to do to become more virtuous and valorous. They are behaviors that come as a result of drawing close to God and being rooted and grounded in Him. These behaviors describe the actions of a woman who has spent her life walking with God and allowing Him to work through her.
Do you strive to be, “Esheth Chayil?” Don’t work harder to do what she did; press into the Father, walking through hard times with Him, fighting temptation with His word, and allowing His light to shine through you. That is how you become a woman of valor.
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