Proverbs 31:17-18

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

Have you ever felt you just can’t do it all? That you just want to curl up, go to sleep, and let the world go by? I’m sure you’ve had times like that, I think we all do. They are the times when we need to draw on our Lord for the strength to go on, and to do the things that our family and those dependent upon us, need from us.

When we’re feeling good, well, strong it’s not difficult to feel like this Proverbs 31 woman – our arms being strong, our ability to get a lot of things done in one day. Being able to keep getting it all done, being profitable with both finance and with our time and for our lamp (and our energies) not to go out at night.

I get lots of people asking me how I manage to get so much done? How do I do all that I do? I like to think it’s because I’m focussed and that God blessed me in being able to work in an area that I totally enjoy. I like to think it’s because I know my purpose and am happy in it. Most people who know me, know me as someone who is bright, cheerful, positive, happy, motivating and encouraging. But I’m not like that all the time and there are times when I’m down and very dependent on our Lord to pull me back up again, to shine His light even stronger within when I feel my own has gone out. Just last night at church our Pastor spoke of how through our own weaknesses the strength of God shows through. That He is glorified when things happen at times when we are feeling our weakest. And I’m sure that’s the secret of the Proverbs 31 woman – she has her (our) Lord within guiding her and helping her throughout her days.

These two verses show a woman who endures, who keeps going, who is strong for all that she must do and be. Do you want to have endurance, stamina and strength to carry on?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we have struggles every day that threaten to knock us down, to stop us in our tracks, to keep us from our purpose in life. We pray that you will instil in us the virtues of this Proverbs 31 Woman and plant within us the strength and endurance depicted in these verses.

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9 Responses to “Proverbs 31:17-18”

  1. Kitty Says:

    I’ve studied Proverbs 31 heavily and there are a few verses in there that disturb me. Let me get your opinion, if you wouldn’t mind.

    Proverbs 31:15 says, “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

    I start waking up at 5:00 in the morning and actually get up around 5:30 so I can start getting my two children ready for school. I feed them breakfast even though they also get breakfast at school. It’s hard for me to see them leave the trailer on an empty stomach. It’s still dark at this time, so I guess I’m complying with this verse.

    Proverbs 31:27 says, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

    Here’s where it gets difficult for me. I do the housework, and it never gets completely finished. There’s always something else that needs to be done, whether it’s laundry, dishes, sweeping, or general tidying up. So I work the whole day long, sometimes skipping meals because scripture doesn’t encourage rest. It would be considered “the bread of idleness”.

    Then I come to Proverbs 31:18, which says, “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

    Well, I’m really ready for bed at 8:00 p.m., after working the entire day. I haven’t allowed myself time for rest or Bible study because I wouldn’t be on the move. I’d have to “eat the bread of idleness” in order to study my Bible, listen to music, or generally unwind. Many days I have to endure chest pains that last for two days at a time, yet my EKG showed nothing wrong with my heart. (My husband doesn’t seem to feel guitly about sitting in front of the television while I’m cooking and cleaning. I envy him sometimes.) So by 8:00 p.m., I’m exhausted, yet to be the “ideal woman”, I have to keep pushing myself so that my “candle goeth not out by night”. My husband and children go to bed, and to follow the scriptural principle of Proverbs 31:18, I stay up until my body aches from work and lack of rest and food and my eyes literally won’t stay open any longer. I know that I’ve worked the entire day, like it lays out in Proverbs 31, yet I still feel GUILTY about what I haven’t finished yet. Torn between the need for sleep and the need to get even more accomplished in the trailer, I finally fall asleep and before I know it, it’s 5:00 a.m. and the whole exhausting cycle starts all over again.

    It seems to be according to these verses in Proverbs 31 that the ideal woman is up before dawn, works all day long, and then pushes herself to the point of exhaustion even after the sun goes down because she’s not allowed to go to bed. Eventaully, she gives in because her body is literally on the verge of collapse.

    Could it be that I’m reading it wrong? I’d love to study my Bible, do further investigative reading, work on my music (I’m a gospel singer/songwriter. I feel that God has given me this talent so that I can eventually have my own music ministry and lead people to Christ through my songs, but Proverbs 31 has me busy literally the whole day and I can’t give myself permission to enjoy my music. I’d be eating the “bread of idleness”. God might not need sleep, food, or rest, but I sure do!) I study Proverbs 31 to find out the qualities of an “ideal woman”, but I doubt I’m physically fit enough to actually be one. Day by day, the restfulness of Heaven is looking better and better. I pray for the Rapture of the Church so that I can end this exhausting cycle. What’s your opinion of these verses? (By the way, it’s great to have found a verse by verse commentary of this passage of scripture. Thanks!)

  2. proverbs31 Says:

    You poor thing – the Proverbs 31 Woman is great to work towards but it doesn’t mean you have to be the perfect woman, and I think this is something many of us (women) struggle to try and be.

    Please don’t mistake the need for rest for the ‘bread of idleness’. Don’t you know that even a woodcutter has to take time out to sharpen his saw? Reading your bible, prayer and meditation are the very things you need to sustain you, give you strength and keep you going. If you’re not resting, particularly in the Lord, then of course you’re going to feel exhausted.

    Be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to spend with our Lord, reading his Word, and just relaxing. You don’t have to get everything finished every day. But in resting, you’ll find you have renewed energy and enjoyment in life and that you’ll probably achieve more than you could before.

    The Proverbs 31 Woman is a great example to work towards but she is an example and none of us can ever expect to reach perfection in our lifetime.

    By the way – give yourself permission to go and sit with your husband in the evenings. He married you to be with you and a ‘perfect wife’ cannot be so if she’s not spending time with her husband.

  3. Project One Fifty Says:

    Kitty, What great council you have received from proverbs31. The Lord does not expect us to reach perfection but rather inner peace. I think that life in today’s high technology and over booked lives we should take the essence of Proverbs 31 and not try to perform measure for measure. The Lord wants us to be submissive to our husbands and our family needs but remember that even God rested on the seventh day. Before you begin your day, please spend time in His Word and soak in His peace, love and grace. Don’t worry about not getting it all done in one day. Organize by priorities and what ever is left over is a gift from God that he continues to give you good work to do.

    Please don’t resent your husband for resting but rather join him as his wife, pray together and shake the dust of the day off both your feet. Joining him when there is still work to do is not being lazy, it is being obedient and submissive as his wife, life partner and friend.

    Still we must remember the values taught in Proverbs 31: A Godly woman is priceless, faithful, good, diligent, enterprising, disciplined, thrifty, energetic, industrious, persistent, kind, farsighted, elegant, helpful, creative, confident, wise, prudent, loving, excellent, reverent, virtous, and a treasure! Make yourself a list and identifies the points where you are already a Proverbs 31 woman then try to add one more to you list until it is conquered, then add one more. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

    God’s peace and grace to you always! Jo Ann, Project One Fifty (Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6)

  4. » Great Point Says:

    […] Regular readers of this post would have seen the comment by Kitty the other day regarding having little time for herself and her struggle to become a Proverbs 31 Woman. I am sure there are many women who struggle with this. […]

  5. Jessie Says:

    I’m doing a women honoring women on May 27, 2007 and I am addressing The voice of a virtous woman trying to give women more mortivation and scrptual on virtous woman according to the bible.
    thanks for any comments you might have.

  6. proverbs31 Says:

    Hi Jessie, as you read through this blog you’ll find lots of information and material for your presentation I’m sure. I look forward to hearing how it went for you. Bless you. Kathie

  7. francis falady Says:

    thank you God BLESS

  8. Patricia Says:

    Gal.4:7 says we are not a slave but a son (or daughter). I know what it’s like to heave to leave a pile of dishes unfinished under the sink just because I did other things which were much more important and it was already 4 a.m. It may feel like a sin to stuff those dishes out of sight and do them the next day but it isn’t! If you drive yourself past the point of exhaustion ONCE IN A WHILE, you’ll get over it. But do it all the time, and you might eventually break your health and end up too ill to live that way anymore. Even under the Old Testament Law, maidservants were required to rest on the Sabbath day, just like their masters. Is a wife any less deserving of rest than a female slave? I believe Proverbs 31 draws a picture of all the jobs the virtuous woman might be CAPABLE of doing in the course of her career, but it doesn’t mean she necessarily scheduled all those activities to be performed EVERY day!

  9. proverbs31 Says:

    Agreed Patricia – we are not meant to do everything every single day.

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