Catch the foxes for us – the little foxes that ruin the vineyards – for our vineyards are in bloom. Song of Songs 2:15 HCSB
The devil is in the business of destroying marriages. One of His greatest delights is watching people destroy their lives and families through divorce. There are countless temptations in today’s world that can destroy a marriage. Factors such as infidelity, pornography, materialism, financial strain, loss of job, in-laws, and even different religions can have a negative influence upon a marriage relationship. It seems that wedding vows are no longer taken seriously. We have somehow lost the everlasting promise of “until death parts us”.
The foxes are symbolic of the many kinds of problems that can disturb or destroy a relationship. Marriage is a partnership to which a man and woman must be committed and willing to make work. The old adage that portrays a couple getting married and living happily ever after is seldom true. A marriage requires hard work and commitment to be successful and long-lasting. A couple must not ignore the foxes; rather they should determine to acknowledge problems as they arise and discern how to manage each one to seek resolution.
Challenge: Watch out for the “foxes”. The devil wants to destroy your marriage, your life, and your family if he can. Don’t let him. Stand strong and ask the Lord to protect you and your marriage from the evil one. Pray that God would strengthen the marriages of couples you know.
How beautiful you are, my darling. How very beautiful? Your eyes are doves. Song of Songs 1:15 HCSB
We all like to hear sincere words of affirmation. We especially want to hear words of affirmation from our spouse, our parents, our children, our grandparents, our brothers and sisters, and even our boss. Affirming words validate us and give us self-worth. One thing I have tried to do is tell all of my children, “I am proud of you.” I also try to tell my wife how nice she looks and how lucky I am to be her husband.
In this verse Solomon told his spouse how beautiful she was. He goes on to describe her eyes as being like doves. Some may think this is a peculiar way to describe how beautiful a woman is, but today as in ancient times the dove was a symbol of love and peace. Solomon was telling her that her eyes were round, peaceful, and beautiful just like a dove. He could see the love she had for him in her eyes.
Challenge: Write down some words of affirmation for your spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, and even your grandparents. Make a point to share the words of affirmation with them this week. Write a note to each of your children affirming him or her and expressing how proud you are of them. Take some time to look into the eyes of your spouse and tell her or him how much you love and appreciate him or her. Look for ways to affirm those with whom you work. Write Thank You notes and birthday cards when appropriate. Pray that God will use you to affirm others this week.
Tell me, you, the one I love: Where do you pasture your sheep? Where do you let them rest at noon? Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions? Song of Songs 1:7 HCSB
Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, Five Languages of Love, has identified the five love languages through which people feel loved: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. We tend to express love to others in the same way that we feel loved. My dominant love language is Words of Affirmation while my wife’s dominant love language is Acts of Service. I want to hear my wife tell me how wonderful I am and how needed I am while my wife feels most loved when I am running the vacuum cleaner and helping to fix the meals. I can tell my wife how wonderful she is and she would appreciate that, but she will feel most loved when I am willing to help her in some way as an act of service to her. It is good for couples to understand their partner’s love language and be willing to do whatever is needed to let his or her spouse feel loved.
In this passage the female is asking her husband where he pastures his sheep and allows them to rest so she can have some undivided attention from her spouse. She desires to have some quality time with the one she loves. Many woman are “wired” this way and really desire just to spend some quality time with their spouses.
Challenge: It is important for couples to find time to spend together to talk and enjoy one another’s presence. Schedule a regular date night with your spouse. Ask your spouse to spend some quality time with you. If you are not married or dating, pray for couples you know who could benefit from spending more time together. Go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ and take the quiz to discover your love language.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Proverbs 31: 30 HCSB
God has richly blessed me with a beautiful wife. Her outward appearance is stunning and very attractive. But more importantly, she has inner beauty because of her wonderful character and integrity. She is a godly woman who has awe, reverence, love, and trust in God. Additionally, she is a person with compassion and love for others. What more could a man want or ask for in a woman?
This single verse spotlights how outward appearances can be deceptive and can even be short-lived. God is more concerned about a person’s inner beauty than He is about outward appearances. The bodies we have are getting older and wearing out a little bit everyday. Someday every person’s body will fail and die. There is nothing wrong with striving to look beautiful or handsome, but that should never become our main focus. Rather, we should focus on our inner selves. We should seek to please God with the proper attitudes and desires that would bring honor to Him. God is looking on the inside to find a person who truly fears the Lord and seeks to do His will in everything he or she does.
Challenge: If you have a wife, tell her how beautiful she is both in outward appearance and in her inward qualities. Strive to be a person who is more concerned with your inward beauty than with your outward appearance. Thank God for your body and pray that He will help you to exercise, eat healthy, and take good care of your earthly body. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to focus on your inward beauty.
She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her. “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31: 26-29 HCSB
God has blessed me with a godly mother who always took me to church and taught me the difference between right and wrong. She has consistently set a good example for me and helped me to know the ways of the Lord. My mother is now 90 years old and lives with us. God has allowed my mother to have a long and fruitful life. She is blessed.
These verses describe a woman who always provides godly instruction and is constantly working to take care of her husband and children. The term “sons” is sometimes interpreted as “children”. A woman is truly blessed when her children recognize how fortunate they are to have a godly mother and they rise up and call her blessed. Even her husband sings her praises.
Challenge: If your mother is still living, take the opportunity to tell her how blessed you are to have her as your mother. Tell her what you appreciate about her and how she has influenced your life. If you are married, make a list of the many ways your wife is a blessing to you and then give the list to her. Praise her for all she does for you and your family. Thank God for your mother and for your wife.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed. She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits among the elders of the land. She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. Proverbs 31:21-25 HCSB
While working with a group on a Habitat for Humanity home, there were two men who were putting on the roof. They were contractors by trade and could work circles around everyone else because they knew what they were doing and they were willing to work hard.
The Proverbs 31 woman was a hard worker. She made sure her family had nothing to fear because they knew she would take care of them. Doubly clothed could also be interpreted as wearing heavy clothes that would keep one warm. She also made sure her family had the best and were dressed in fine linens. Her husband was well respected in the community and was considered to be one with wisdom. In addition to being a hard worker, the Proverbs 31 woman was also a good business person. She sold goods in the marketplace to make money she could use to purchase other goods for her family. Because she was so well prepared, she did not have to worry about the future and could laugh at the time to come.
Challenge: Be a hard worker and do everything you do with excellence. Take care of your family and make sure they are well cared for. Save and be prepared for tomorrow so you will not have to worry about your future.
Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20 HCSB
Last week I participated in a mission trip to West Liberty, Kentucky. A few years ago a devastating tornado went through the center of town and destroyed many businesses, government buildings, and personal homes. Groups have periodically gone to West Liberty to work with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes. Additionally, each year I play in a golf tournament which benefits Habitat for Humanity, an organization that is in the business of helping people get into a home at an affordable price because much of the labor is done with volunteers.
The Proverbs 31 woman is one who not only takes care of her husband and family but is constantly looking for ways to reach out to the poor and needy to give them a helping hand. The “Capable Wife” would be a dedicated volunteer because she has a servant’s heart and wants to help others as she can.
Challenge: Look for ways you can reach out to the poor and needy. Pray that God will provide opportunities to minister to others and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Consider volunteering to go on a mission trip from your church or becoming involved as a volunteer for an organization such as Habitat for Humanity.
Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12 HCSB
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife who is more than I could ever have asked for or dreamed of. She is my best friend and companion and is a good mother to our children and grandmother to our grandchildren. She is willing to do anything for our family. She is happiest when we are able to spend time with our children and grandchildren. God provided me with exactly what I needed.
It seems appropriate that Solomon would end his Proverbs with the description of the perfect woman who has strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and compassion. Note that there is no mention of the woman’s physical beauty because her beauty comes from within. The capable wife is more valuable than rare and valuable jewels.
Challenge: Tell your wife or mother how much you appreciate her. Thank her for all the things she does for you. Thank God for giving you a capable wife or mother.
The one who commits adultery lacks sense, whoever does so destroys himself. He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed. Proverbs 6:32-33 HCSB
We live in a culture where it seems that “sexual freedom” is rampant. Many people freely engage in sexual relationships with others without being married. It is becoming more common for couples to live together before getting married. Some say sexual immorality and adultery really do not hurt anyone, but the truth is that someone always gets hurt. Many marriages are destroyed every year as a result of unfaithfulness and adultery. Spouses are devastated and children are lonely and confused. Sexual immorality is extremely dangerous. It destroys family life and erodes trust. It degrades human beings and treats them as objects. It can even lead to disease and unwanted pregnancy.
Solomon reminds us in these two verses that anyone who commits adultery or sexual immorality lacks sense and makes unwise decisions that will only bring destruction. The participant will ultimately be disgraced and dishonored. Adultery and sexual immorality may be fun at the time, but there is always a penalty to be paid later and people always get hurt.
Challenge: Make the smart choice. Make a commitment to moral purity. Go against today’s culture by taking a stand for sexually purity and do not engage in immoral activity that is against God’s plan. Do what is right in God’s eyes even though the world is telling you to go a different direction. Ask God to forgive you for specific failures to live a morally pure life.
For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light and corrective discipline is the way to life. Proverbs 6:23 HCSB
My wife and I put a small garden in our backyard. We got a late start on it during the day and worked into the darkness to finish. Finishing in the dark was a challenge. We fumbled around trying to find the rake, shovel, and other tools we had gotten out of our shed. Trying to find the hanging bracket to replace the tools in the shed created an even greater challenge. My wife then said, “Try using the light on your phone.” It is interesting that the light that is usually used for taking a flash picture on our phones can also be used as a small flashlight. I turned on the light on my phone and my wife held it while I put away the tools. A little light can be a great help in the darkness.
This Scripture reminds us that the commands of God, found in His Holy Word, are like a lamp. Teaching is a light to show us the right way to go and discipline will lead to life. The expression of “life” has a double meaning. It means we will have a full and meaningful life now here on earth, and we have the promise of eternal life in the future if we will only follow the words of wisdom from God and our parents.
Challenge: Read God’s Word. It is a lamp unto your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). God will show you the right way if you will only seek Him and His ways.