and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Today we are starting at verse 12 . . .
Lemuel's mom now tells him, "Son, you want a woman who always has your best interest in her heart."
A woman who always seeks to build up her husband, and whose desire is to make him every bit of the man that he can be, is a treasure to her mate. You don't have to be a Jewish mom, advising a future king, to know that!
All of the days of her life, the ideal wife is devoted to the well-being of her husband. Whether it is in good times or bad, times of plenty or times of little, times of happiness or times of sadness, she wants the best for him. Some of us recall the words in our vows: "in sickness or in health", etc. The Proverbs 31 wife is always devoted to her husband's success, in every area of his life.
This is not something that fluctuates; it's not something that has ups and downs according to mood. She will seek the very best and the noblest, highest things for the man who is her husband.
Remember how Sarah took care of Abraham?
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbandslike Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. I Peter 3:3-6
Sarah was committed to him. She even called him lord. She was not concerned about her own rights, her own position, her own worth. She was first and foremost concerned about his success and his comfort. Sarah revealed her trustworthy character (yes, she had flaws and issues; we all do!) by her unwavering service on his behalf.
A love that deep has a purity, a depth of devotion, and a power that is never changing. Her delight is in his joy, and his reputation and success. Living for him is a constant happiness to her, not drudgery.
And a sidenote here . . .That means that when necessary, because his highest good is her greatest desire, she will confront his sin and his weakness. And lovingly she will be a conscience, she will be necessarily the voice of God, never unkind, always submissive, but eager to be sure that he walks with God. She is concerned to gently, tenderly confront his sin and his failure. That's part of desiring him to be everything he should be.
I think that is the core of what it says in Titus, when it tells the young women to love their husbands. It's not talking about walking around leaving a trail of hearts and flowers; it isn't talking about emotion. It means that when you love someone deeply, you seek their best interests. Our desires for our husbands should be that we want them to be every bit the men that God would want them to be; we want them to be as much as they can spiritually, and as much as they can professionally. We should seek for them to be the best fathers, the best friends, the best workers or employers, that they possibly can be.
To that end, this ideal woman even advances her husband's respect - how he is perceived by others. We'll jump into that on Monday.