"Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)
The word of the Lord is true. We can take shelter in Him not only because He cares for us, but because He is truth. God is not capable of leading you down the wrong path because He is the embodiment of wisdom. Even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, God is still a strong tower and you can still run to Him for salvation.
"Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me," Proverbs 30:7 - 8 (ESV)
What do we truly need in this life? Proverbs tells us a few things we need to have for a good and meaningful life. In Chapter 30, much of what we have discussed over the last month are summed up in two thoughts.
The first - Keep away from falsehoods and lies. Walking in wisdom is walking in truth. Solomon spends many verses instructing us to walk away (even run away) from liars and those who are promoting things that are false. Truth and lies are light and darkness, they cannot exist in the same space. As truth floods in, the lies must leave. May we be a people who walk in truth and avoid falsehoods and lies.
The second - Feed me what I need (trust in the Lord). God knows what we need, and He is able to provide. Just like the Israelites were provided manna in the wilderness, God provides all we need to live for Him. Walking in wisdom does not make poverty a goal neither is riches and fame. There is balance. The straight and narrow path is, at times, hard to walk - we can be drawn to turn to the left or to the right and lose sight of the goal, which is righteousness. Proverbs 30:8 is a request for what is important in life (the food that we actually need). The glitz and glamour of this world seeks to lead us astray; God is not phased by these therefore, we can trust that He will give us what we need.
Proverbs 31 is probably one of the most popular passages in the Bible. There are entire organizations based around this group of verses. It is worth considering the conclusion of this book of wisdom through the lens of this chapter praising godly women to see what it might look like to live out the principles laid out for us by wisdom herself.
Open Your Mouth
"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy" Proverbs 31:8-9
God's heart breaks for injustice. We see from Genesis to Revelation that God desires all things to be reconciled to Himself and that we take an active role in the lessening of injustice in the world. While we may never fully accomplish that task, caring for widows and orphans (those who do not have a voice) is a theme throughout the Bible. Hospitality for someone who cannot repay your kindness is a mark of faithfulness and righteousness.
Do you want to know how you are doing when it comes to walking in righteousness and following Jesus? Consider how you treat people who cannot provide you with anything in return. When we defend the poor, those in need, and those who are even destitute we will be able to see that we are walking in righteousness for the good of the community. Proverbs 31 is all about a woman of valor, and a true mark of that valor is to use your voice for those who do not have a voice. It's the story of the Good Samaritan in everyday life. Where are the women of valor? Who will take charge to care for those who are in great need of defense?
Fear the Lord
"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates Proverbs 31:30-31
Proverbs ends with an admonition to fear the Lord. All of the wisdom from Solomon, all of the sayings of the wise are distilled into 3 words: Fear the Lord. This fear is not something out of a horror movie or a scary dream. This is a reverence and a trust that passes even human understanding. Walking in wisdom may take you places that are scary; it may take you places that are even dangerous. In that moment, the trust (and fear) of the Lord will carry you to take that step on to an invisible bridge. It will take you to the people who society has cast out, and it will lead you to love more and invest more than might make sense.
Don't lose heart! God is right there with you. Woman of valor, rise up, and be praised for your trust in God. Walk in wisdom, lead by example, and take refuge in the tower of the Lord.