Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
My kids sometimes ask me what I am afraid of. I usually laugh a bit and try to come up with some superficial fears like, heights, flying or bees. But those are only half truths. There are other things that I fear far more greatly that I don’t tell them about. Things that evoke fear in me are things that haven’t even happened. Thoughts like: What if some of my children turn away from the Lord? What if something happens to me and my husband? Who would take in 4 little orphaned children? What if we have to deal with teen pregnancy? It can get out of control sometimes.
No one likes to be afraid (not really afraid) and we are told throughout scripture that we shouldn’t worry but have faith that Christ will carry us through all of our troubles. And yet, the Proverbs 31 woman is praised for what, or whom, she fears.
She fears the Lord, and this is her crown. She wears it proudly and takes great pains to care and maintain it.
Of all the verses we have studied so far I believe this one sums up what a godly woman is like. It shows what she values, what she spends her time and thoughts on, and what she pursues; namely the fear of the Lord.
What is it?
We like to say that the fear of the Lord for a Christian is a deep honor, respect, and awe for God. This is true, but I am afraid we don’t think enough about what it means to fear God. True awe always has a healthy bit of “fear” in it.
We tend to fear things that are negative, but this fear is a good thing. It is a fear of someone who is all-powerful, perfectly just, all knowing, and at the same time perfectly good, righteous and loving. It reminds me of a scene in the book “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” where the children ask the beavers if Aslan is safe. They respond by saying, “Safe? No, he is not safe, but he is good.” We do not fear God as if he is going to needlessly hurt us, betray us, or leave us in our hour of need. We do not fear God’s punishment against sin, for he has punished The Son for our sins. We fear God with a trembling awe that doesn’t give way to uncertainty or fright, but rather produces in us wisdom, love, and action.
A woman who fears the Lord, is a wise woman. She knows who is most important, namely God, and therefore she makes sure she cultivates that relationship. She knows who is strong and therefore spends much time in prayer. She knows who is in control and therefore sees all of her circumstances as a way to trust in and glorify God.
This trembling awe for our God should bring about a strong love. A love for him that will lead us to hate all that is opposed to him. We will daily repent of our sins and strive to put on righteousness. This love for God will make us eager to share the scriptures with our children in hopes that they also will fall in love with the King of Kings.
Fearing the Lord will lead to action. For example, it will bring a greater joy and purpose to our daily tasks knowing that God has prepared us for our circumstances, and will make all things in our life work for our good. Fearing God moves us to not waste what he gives us, whether small, mundane, difficult, easy, or delightful.
Ultimately we will only grow in a godly fear of the Lord the more intimately we know him and understand ourselves. He is holy, just, good, patient, and forgiving, while we are sinful, rebellious, selfish, and in need of mercy. Therefore:
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Looking to Jesus,