Proverbs 31: 2020 Bible Challenge

Devotional Text and Meditation for the Day

Marty Orcurto

Proverbs 31:30

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”


 The book of Proverbs ends in much the same way it began – by reinforcing the same foundational truth. A person of Godly character, one who seeks out and pursues after wisdom, will have as the undergirding foundation of their life a genuine fear of the Lord. At the beginning of the book (1:7) and continuing throughout (2:5, 9:10, 14:2, 14:27, 15:33, 16:6, 19:23, 28:14), the father instills the importance of this in his son’s life and warns him against those things which will draw him away from it. His last bit of advice is wisdom passed down from his own mother on what traits or virtues to look for in a wife. While not every woman will embody all the traits found in this list (vs 10-29), they are all worthy of aspiration. But above all else – it is a woman whose character is built on the fear of the Lord that stands out. This is the same exact foundation the son is to be personally pursuing.

At first glance this verse appears to present charm and beauty as bad traits but looking deeper it is less about the trait and more about the value you place on them. Each person makes choices which reveal what is at the core of their identity. The things which form the foundation of their character and shape how they see themselves, others, and the world around them and ultimately drives their pursuits and desires. A woman who has charm and beauty as the core of her identity is most to be pitied. Those qualities which cause her to be admired or favored in the eyes of others is at best temporary, hollow, or fickle, and at worst outright lies she chooses to believe as authentic. Outward beauty fades or vanishes like a cold breath often leaving only an empty, lonely ugliness in its place. In contrast, a woman whose identity is based on a right understanding of who God is and who she is in relation to Him, and her response to His holy character in awe and trepidation with obedience, her foundation will stand firm in the face of opposition and last the test of time. Christ also illustrates this in Luke 6:48-49 where He compares a life built on fearing God (a house built upon rock) versus a house built upon self-righteous works (a house built upon the sand.) Both examples have the common characteristic that the firm foundation is built upon God – His character, His word, and their own humility before Him. Because of this, people are drawn to her, not for what is seen on the outside but for the firm and lasting strength of her godly character; it is for this that she is praised.

This applies not only to women. We ALL can succumb to allowing ourselves to be defined by something other than God – our abilities, passions, past accomplishments, our number of ‘followers’ . . .  So, as you look at your own life, what is it that defines you? What is at the core of your identity? What would your spouse or a co-worker say defines you? When your core values are stressed, to what do you cling? (Ps 61:2)

Read Proverbs 31: BibleHub.com | Bible.com

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