May 08, 2017

Deceptive and Fleeting

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever heard someone read a passage and not bother pausing for the punctuation, so everything just ran together like one big, long sentence? Sometimes when that happens you can miss some of the nuances that are in what you are hearing because you're not hearing the proper pauses, which can certainly affect the meaning.

Consider this section of Proverbs 31:

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (vv. 28-31).

For ages I thought the husband was speaking about his wife from 'many women' to 'city gate.' It was as if the husband were saying to his wife "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all, so it's okay you're not charming and you've lost all your beauty." What?? What husband would say something like that to his wife? Especially as praise?! It wasn't until I finally read the verses for myself that I noticed the quotation marks that ended the husband's words after he tells his wife that she surpasses them all. Okay, then, that's much better!

Once I realized they weren't some husband's weird idea of a compliment, I found these couple of verses much more interesting 😊 I find it especially interesting that charm and beauty are set opposite "a woman who fears that Lord."

Charm is deceptive. I'm sure we've all known people who are so kind and sweet one minute and then completely nasty the next, as if someone flipped a switch. These people can pour on the charm thick as honey when it suits their needs, but it means absolutely nothing because it's just an act. They have decided, either consciously or not, that pretending to be kind and friendly is the best way to get ahead, but their true nature shows through when they think they can get away with it.

Beauty is fleeting. Oh, how true! Have you ever seen a decades-old picture of someone you have only known as a senior? How often do we say something like 'she was a real beauty in her day' or 'he was so handsome when he was young'?

I remember seeing a cartoon years ago that showed an older couple on the beach, both rather overweight, and a young 20-something walking past, gorgeous in her bikini. The older woman laments to her husband, "I'll never look like that again" to which the husband replies, "That's okay, dear. Neither will she." What a wise man!

But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. It's not that a woman who fears the Lord can't be charming or beautiful, but rather that those things are not truly praise-worthy. Charm and beauty are only superficial. A fear of the Lord runs deep into our character and impacts everything of who we are.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. A person's fear of the Lord will flow out into their actions. A woman who fears the Lord will show it by all she does and those actions will inevitably be noticed by others. In Bible times, the city gates were where the elders of the town gathered to conduct important business, so this verse is saying that what is done by those who fear the Lord is worthy of praise even by those who are in authority. 
Weekly devotions on Christian living |

All of which should make us pause and think. When we come up in conversation, what good do people have to say about us? Is it only about superficial things, or are their words of praise for our actions, which flow from our love for God?

1 comment:

  1. I love your devotions. They are so timely and so incentive. Your love for the Lord shows in each and every devotional. I use them often at our church sewing circle. Thank you for this service. God bless you.


Thanks for taking the time to leave me a message. I love hearing from you.