“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
I think that I can safely assert here that this scripture is the goal of pretty much every woman I have ever talked to about being a Godly woman. Wouldn’t we all love to have our children bless us and our husband praise us?!!! I know I want that – but more than just wanting that I want to deserve it. Even if they never spoke it out loud, I would love to know that this is how they felt about me. But before I get too far into that I want to look at what this means, really means for us as women.
Strong’s H1121 – ben
1) son, grandson, child, member of a group
a) son, male child
c) children (pl. – male and female)
d) youth, young men (pl.)
e) young (of animals)
f) sons (as characterization, i.e. sons of injustice [for un- righteous men] or sons of God [for angels]
g) people (of a nation) (pl.)
h) of lifeless things, i.e. sparks, stars, arrows (fig.)
i) a member of a guild, order, class
Often times I receive emails from women who are not married and/or do not have children and they ask me how this all applies to them. I try to be very careful in my Bible studies to add into the discussion how these verses apply to everyone. This verse is no different. At first glance it appears to only be toward those who are mothers and wives, but let’s look further.
We see by the Strong’s definition for the word for children “ben” that it not only means our physical offspring but it also refers to others who come under the realm of our influence: items e, g, h, i. As women in this modern society, we are able to reach so many folks and while our focus may mainly be our family (as it should be) we also daily connect with others. There are very few of us that do not touch someone else’s life – to encourage, mentor and support. It can be as simple as the neighbor or as complex as the class you teach at church.
Verse 28 is showing us what comes as a result of living out the previous verses in Proverbs 31.
Strong’s H6965 – quwm
1) to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up
- to arise
- to arise (hostile sense)
- to arise, become powerful
- to arise, come on the scene
- to stand
1) to maintain oneself
2) to be established, be confirmed
3) to stand, endure
4) to be fixed
5) to be valid
6) to be proven
7) to be fulfilled
8) to persist
9) to be set, be fixed
- to fulfil
- to confirm, ratify, establish, impose
a) (Polel) to raise up
b) (Hithpael) to raise oneself, rise up
- to cause to arise, raise
- to raise, set up, erect, build
- to raise up, bring on the scene
- to raise up, rouse, stir up, investigate
- to raise up, constitute
- to cause to stand, set, station, establish
- to make binding
- to carry out, give effect to
a) (Hophal) to be raised up
Whew, that was a long one! I particularly like 6, 7 and 8. It seems so easy to just take the words in scripture at simple face value, but I am a firm believer that each and every word in the Word is without error and carefully chosen to speak life to the readers. The depth of the phrase “arise up” is one that could be easily missed without study.
To stand, to be validated, to confirm, to establish, be proven are all very powerful affirmations of a job well done. A workman always strives to have their work stand the test of time. How much good would a carpenter be if the cabinet he built fell off the wall when the door was opened? No one would buy another car from a manufacturer if the car they sold wouldn’t start or the wheels fell of when it got on the highway. How much more important is it to have your children (those under your influence) be enabled to follow the leading of the Lord God in every aspect of their lives because they were trained in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Worshipping the Lord is our purpose in life and raising Godly seed to worship Him is the greatest calling for any woman. Not just raising seed but viable, healthy, productive seed ready to fulfill God’s purposes.
So can we say that it is not so much that our children need to get up and say, “Hey, my mom is the most wonderful mom in the world!” but for the life of our children to speak those words in their own daily focus and actions? I go back to a question I asked in a previous study, “What is success?”. I ask this because in light of this particular scripture and indeed in this particular term there must be clarity in what it means for our children to “arise up”. LOOK AT THE FRUIT!!! What is the fruit of a life – your life – their life?
Here at Shepherds Hill we have a little orchard on top of a little hill. It is not big and the trees are not yet completely mature. There are peach, apple, pear, plum and nectarine trees there and all of them vary in size. It has been VERY difficult for us to get any real fruit crop from them so far and that is due to many different factors. Some are not mature enough really to produce a meaningful crop. Some have been inundated with insects and the damage has taken the fruit before it is ready to harvest. Some have suffered from lack of water when they needed it most. And some have had to deal with armadillos and cats around the trunk – cats using the trunks as a scratching post and armadillos digging for bugs at the base of the tree. All of these things have hindered the trees and therefore the fruit. As we begin each spring season with great hope for a summer harvest, we do all we can to help the trees along. Still we are waiting for a good crop.
Over the last couple of years we have noticed that the fruit that forms in the spring seems to start out well but over the days and weeks there is a merciless attack from every possible enemy to steal the fruit before it is ready. We do all we can to protect it short of covering the entire tree with plastic and keeping it in a bubble. This would not work, but sometimes we want to do it all the same. It truly brings to my mind a similarity in the fruit of our life.
As a parent and follower of Christ, the goal is to raise Godly, productive seed. We hope to begin with our own lives being in order before our children come along, but most of us are a work in progress and we need the Lord’s guidance, strength and mercy every moment of every day. As we work diligently to get ourselves where we need to be spiritually, we also work towards raising these little blessings. Each and every day our decisions, activities, words, thoughts all go into the process and pattern of parenting.
When we are neglectful of study in the Word of God or slack in spending time in prayer it shows in the lives of our children. Just like in those fruit trees on our hill, if we forget to water them during a dry spell we see the fruit begin to wither. If we allow the world to creep in to the daily lives and activities of our family, just like the insects that damage the fruit, our lives and that of our children become something unusable for God’s kingdom. When we compromise on our standards and get lazy about guarding and protecting their spirits from the influence of the world they become weak and fall to the ground to be crushed instead of gathered by the Master and made use of for the Kingdom.
Her children arise up – they are able to “stand, fulfill their purpose, be established, be fixed, endure, persist, be validated”. They arise up and are the fruit of YOUR life. Whether they are healthy, productive, good fruit for the Kingdom of God is, for the most part, based on how they were tended.
Call her blessed
Strong’s H833 – ‘ashar
1) to go straight, walk, go on, advance, make progress
a) (Qal) to go straight on, make progress
1) to go straight on, advance
2) to lead on (causative)
3) to set right, righten
4) to pronounce happy, call blessed
1) to be advanced, be led on
2) to be made happy, be blessed
I have to tell ya’, when I see my babies doing well that makes me HAPPY!!! So yes, as a parent of well established, uncompromising, God-serving, loving, content children I feel blessed, advanced and Happy in every way. All the hard work of their growing years was more than worth it. I cannot tell you how much flack I took through the years for not allowing my children to participate in all the things that other parents allowed. Over-protective, smothering, hindering their social life, fearful of letting go – these and so many other statements were regularly hurled at me. It seemed that everyone in our lives from pastors to neighbors to family members felt the need to straighten me out on how to properly raise children and how in the decisions I was making, my children would be socially unable to handle the “real world”. And yes, I am giggling now. Happy? Blessed? Able to sleep without fear of what my children are doing with their lives? A resounding YES! God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him – GREAT is His reward!!! Stay the course and set your face like a flint. DO WHAT MUST BE DONE and DON’T COMPROMISE!!!
“her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
We see by the use of the word “also” that this is in addition to the “children” in the first phrase of this verse. I say that to show that even though as wives, we do not raise our husbands as we do children, our decisions and commitments to holding standards as wives is equally as important as holding standards as mothers. If we commit ourselves in every way to be above reproach and focus on Godliness as wives then our husband will also be better able to show all the aspects of being fulfilled, purposeful, established, etc. Will that happen immediately – no, not necessarily. And let’s face it, every human being has a choice. Children have a choice and husbands have a choice. We can do all we know to do and be strong and diligent and focused but they still have free will, given to them by God their Creator. What they do with their decisions is not in our control, but we need to make sure that we are not enablers for ungodliness. A woman can tear a man down with one swipe of her words and she can build him up the same way. We cannot change a man’s heart but we can be a tool for the Holy Spirit to use to draw him closer to the Lord. Make yourself useful to the Holy Spirit and then allow Him to do the work.
“He praiseth her”
Strong’s H1984 – halal
1) to shine
a) (Qal) to shine (fig. of God’s favour)
b) (Hiphil) to flash forth light
2) to praise, boast, be boastful
1) to be boastful
2) boastful ones, boasters (participle)
1) to praise
2) to boast, make a boast
1) to be praised, be made praiseworthy, be commended, be worthy of praise
d) (Hithpael) to boast, glory, make one’s boast
e) (Poel) to make a fool of, make into a fool
f) (Hithpoel) to act madly, act like a madman
I admit that this part of this verse makes me smile at times and makes me cry at times. Oh how much I want my sweet husband to be pleased with me!!! I want him to have that twinkle in his eye when he sees me and know that it is because he is truly happy with me as his wife. I love it when he comes home from work and tells me that he was talking to someone about me at work. That sounds self-serving, I know, but the truth is I like that he feels so happy with me that he has something to share. I am truly blessed to be the wife of a man who excels in pretty much everything he does. He would disagree but that is even more revealing because he is humble as well. And so, as his wife, I want to be excellent too. I want to be worthy of him even as I want to be worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Can there be any doubt in my unworthiness? Of course not – it is only because of God’s Mercy and Love that my life has any value at all, but I strive to do better, be better, walk circumspectly before the Lord and my husband. I do not want to be a disgrace to either of them.
Do you notice in that last paragraph that there are over 20 times I used the word “I, me or my”? I point this out because it needs to be made perfectly clear that it is MY responsibility to become what my Lord Jesus Christ and my husband Paul Burrell desire of me. There is nothing more important in my life than those two and I believe with all my heart that if I will focus my efforts – every moment of every day – on becoming more like Christ that I will in turn please my husband and therefore both will be able to call me “good and faithful”. My spirit is committed to that goal – not my heart because my heart can deceive me and not my mind because my mind can become confused – but my spirit which I yield control of to the Lord God. The rest must fall in line!!!