So how do you feel about the Proverbs 31 woman now? Still a bit intimidated? Well, don’t lose heart! Today’s characteristic is more than just another attribute on a long list. It’s key to her overall success. And ladies, if we work on nothing but this one, we will go a long way toward becoming that rare wife of noble character.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30, ESV
The Proverbs 31 woman fears the Lord. I believe this specific characteristic has much to do with the existence of the others. The book of Proverbs repeatedly connects godly fear with wisdom and knowledge of God (see Proverbs 1:7, 1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 9:10, 15:33.) The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom (9:10). It is the beginning of knowledge (1:7). In other words, if we want to know God more intimately and walk in His wisdom, we must fear Him.
Because she fears the Lord, our P31 woman knows God and His character, she has gained His wisdom, and knows how to apply it to life. Here are just a few connections that Proverbs makes between godly fear and navigating life. Those who fear the Lord will:
- Follow the right path (Proverbs 14:2)
- Find security (Proverbs 14:26)
- Escape death (Proverbs 14:27)
- Be protected (Proverbs 19:23)
We see one more exciting result of the fear of the Lord in the life of the P31 woman: because she fears the Lord, she doesn’t have to fear anything else! Godly fear produced godly wisdom for life. She doesn’t have to fear winter (31:21), because in wisdom she has made warm clothes. She doesn’t have to fear the future (31:25), because in wisdom she has prepared for it.
Jesus taught this truth to His disciples. He told them not to fear anything that man could do to them. Only fear the One that has all power over life and eternity (Matthew 10:26-28). God has authority over every circumstance of life – hardship, persecution, grief, and trial. Whether He chooses to deliver you from something or through something, He will deliver you! Fear Him and not the circumstance. Trust in His wisdom and guidance and don’t let difficulty cause you to take your eyes off of Him.
So, what does it mean to fear God? I actually wrote an entire Bible study on that topic, but we only have a few minutes together today! The Hebrew word most often translated as “fear” is yare’. Here’s a quick definition from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine.
Used of a person in an exalted position, [yare’] connotes “standing in awe.” This is not simple fear, but reverence, whereby an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect.
If you looked up all the passages in the Bible that include this word, you would find that over and over God equates fearing Him with worship and obedience. In other words, if we recognize the true power and position of God (godly fear) then it will cause us to obey Him and give Him the proper worship.
The P31 woman recognized the power and position of God. Therefore, in godly fear, she spent her life obeying and worshipping Him, and living in His wisdom. Her “noble character” (31:10) was a direct result of her attitude toward God.
Do you “fear God?” Before today, what did you think it meant to fear God? If you lived a life of godly fear, how would it be different?
If you want to learn a little more about what it means to fear God, check out this 4-minute video teaching by Kathy.