Proverbs 31: Week Thirty-Four | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week thirty-four of our Proverbs 31 journey. If you'd like to return to one of our previous stops, let our "Wolfe Notes" guide you. 

  • In January we examined our value with the help of Proverbs 31 verses 10 and 29.
  • In February we learned what uplifting means by looking at Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • In March, we considered the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
  • In April, we trained to be hardworking with Proverbs 31:13 and 19 as our instructors.
  • In May, we saw what it takes to be resourceful by examining Proverbs 31:14 and 21. 
  • In June, we developed our caring muscle by exercising Proverbs 31:15 and 22.
  • In July, we practiced being savvy with help from Proverbs 31:16 and 27.
  • In August, we witness exemplary behavior outlined in Proverbs 31:18 and 31:31.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your August calendar with daily activities, the lamp for your feet (the Bible), and let's get going! We're journeying through the concluding poem of Proverbs and we're so glad you decided to walk along this road with us! Imagine that as we walk, we're talking about the daily activities. Our side of the discussion is outlined below. What would you add? How would you challenge us? (Ideas that are our thoughts alone are designated with an *.)

A clay lamp is lit in the background with text overlay saying the only work that truly sustains is the work of the Father.





Contents:
Other Versions of Proverbs 31:31.
Commentaries of Proverbs 31:31.
*As Christ's Bride interpret Proverbs 31:31.
*A Look at Roles based on Proverbs 31:31
*Godly Wisdom revealed through Proverbs 31:31.
*Application of Proverbs 31:31 in the past, present, and future.
*Cross References of Proverbs 31:31.

Other Versions

Of Proverbs 31:31 from Bible Gateway.

By Phrase
  • Give her / let her share / show her / reward her / praise her / acclaim her / honor / celebrate
  • of the fruit / product / the reward / the results / credit / many fine things / everything / deeds / a share / all
  • of her hands / labor / work / what she produces / she has done / she has earned / she does / deserves / she has accomplished 
  • and let her own works / deeds / what she has done / her accomplishments / she deserves / actions / she should be / everything she has done
  • praise her / respect / bring her honor and recognition / adorn her
  • in the gates / in public / of everyone / openly / from the people of importance / life
Significantly Different Versions
  • CEV: Show her respect - praise her in public for what she has done
  • MSG: Give her everything she deserves! Adorn her life with praises!
  • GNT: Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.
  • TLB: Praise her for the many fine things she does. These good deeds of hers shall bring her honor and recognition from people of importance. 
*Wolfe Stew Versions
  • Give (WISDOM) public credit for the changes it has made in your life.
  • Give (THE BRIDE OF CHIRST) recognition for the change she yields in the world around her by laboring with Christ.
  • PERSONALLY, recognize and rejoice in the results of your efforts. This is God working through you!
  • RELATIONALLY, give honest credit where credit is due; don't hold back candid praise.
  • SPIRITUALLY, glorify God openly. Declare His praises by pointing out what He has done. Surrender your life to Him; this is your reasonable service for you are the fruit of His hands.

Commentaries

Of Proverbs 31:31 from Bible Hub.
  • Give her of the fruit of her hands: Honor her for her noble life (ELLICOT); These words are addressed to her children (*souls saved) by her husband (*Jesus) (ABEN EZRA); the world to come will praise the fruits produced by the church (JARCHI); enjoy the blessings she has obtained (Psalm 128:2)
  • let her own works praise her in the gates. Worthily done thereby the works are honoring by themselves - *no words are needed (KEIL & DELITZCH); On Judgment Day at Kingdom Gate the elect will move into the heavenly country and receive the fruit of their hands in heavenly blessings. (ST. GREGORY); The most honorable are clad in the apparel of her design (*We are clad in apparel of God's design.) (GENEVA); publicly praised by Christ on judgment day (Revelation 14:13 KJV: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.) the happiness of the saints in heaven (GILL); the mere mention of them is enough - no words could add to her praise (ELLICOT)
*Conclusions: 
  • PRACTICALLY, we should encourage others to recognize and partake in the results of their labor and publicly acknowledge their efforts.
  • SPIRITUALLY, your labor on earth will be acknowledged and rewarded when you reach heaven.
  • Praise WISDOM for the work being produced in you.

*As Christ's Bride

Interpret Proverbs 31:31.

Because Christ
We, the Church, can:
  • Submit Christ by following his example and working willingly and tirelessly with Him to produce good fruit.
  • Respect Christ by working to know Him more, accepting His love, finding our identity in Him, anticipating our reunion, trusting Him with our eternal outcome, and making our every motive to give glory to God.

*A Look at Roles

Based on Proverbs 31:31

Because a Keeper:
  • Leads his wife by example through sacrifice, honest encouragement, and fair treatment.
  • Loves his wife by intimately knowing her struggles, efforts, and accomplishments; proudly walking by her side in public places knowing her worth is uncontested.
A Helper can:
  • Submit to her husband by placing her outcome into his capable hands; jointly producing good fruit through his example of working sacrificially toward righteousness.
  • Respect her husband by getting to know him more; going where he goes; connecting her identity with his; anticipating time spent together; trusting he knows and values who she really is; and together returning all praise to God.

*Godly Wisdom

Revealed through Proverbs 31:31.
  • God rewards fairly.
  • He expects effort.
  • He believes in public, merit-based praise.

*Application

Of Proverbs 31:31 in the past, present, and future.

  • In the past, PRIDE filled my thoughts regarding this verse. "People will praise me. Eventually, people will respect what I do, see my contributions, and recognize my authority. All I must do is keep working."
  • Presently, I'm CONFLICTED. I don't want to rely on the praise of people, wait for their recognition, or hear them count off my successes. Yet, I crave it.
  • In the future, I hope I'm completely MOTIVATED BY GOD and God alone. To be at the place where I genuinely do not care if people see, appreciate, or understand me, but to instead rest in the awareness that I am acting in accordance with the will of God and be satisfied with the love He lavishes upon me. To not concern myself if my work is enough or my fruit plentiful because I know that God works within me to produce abundant fruit. And that's more than enough.

Cross References

Of Proverbs 31:31

Proverbs 11:30 KJV: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
  • *Immediate connection: "The fruit of her hands" is life. "The work that praises her in the gates" are the souls that found life through her.
  • Hebrew: and he who wins (to take) souls (desire, passion, appetite, or emotion) is wise. *To take people to a place of desiring, developing a passion or appetite for, and awakening emotions regarding God is to transform or lead them to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
  • Commentaries: 
    • Ellicot: By performance of duty to neighbors, the righteous bring life & healing, (Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.) which attracts them to the righteous neighbor and induces them to follow his example. 
    • Pulpit: That which the righteous say & do is a fruitful tree which delights and feeds many, promotes spiritual health which leads to immortal life. Winning souls is like being fishers of men (Luke 5:10 and James 5:20). The Septuagint adds "But the souls of transgressors are taken untimely away."
    • Gill: The fruit is that which grows upon Christ, the tree of life, and which they receive from Him (*JOY, peace, love) even blessings of grace, peace & pardon (Revelations 2:7...to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life...), fruit unto holiness (*self-control, faithfulness, meekness) that ends in everlasting life (*patience, gentleness, goodness). Prudent methods are used to gain and save souls, which each soul is worth more than a world. (I Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.) Each soul was produced by God, made in His image, fell short because of sin, and is redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Christ has taken the charge of redemption and commits to our care his sheep of whom we must give an account. To "win" is to teach (Proverbs 4:2) the gospel and, through a mouth filled with Wisdom, effectively save them from Satan's snare.  
  • *Conclusions: AS CHRIST'S BRIDE, fruit from Christ, the tree of life, sustains you as you labor to return Christ's sheep to the fold. AS WISDOM, all glory, honor, and praise are given to You, Lord, for without Your breath in our lungs, Your blood to atone us, and Your spirit to guide us, our works would lead only to death and destruction.
Psalm 128:2 KJV: For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt though be, and it shall be well with thee.
  • Immediate Connection: God wants our contentment, and we can find it when we work with our hands (get dirty) to produce good fruits which will be given to us to enjoy. We will be rewarded for our hard work. We will be happy and content, rest in this promise. PRACTICALLY, celebrate the yield you've labored to produce, be content in it.
  • Cross Reference: John 4:34 KJV: "Jesus said unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (*The work of the Father is what sustains us.)
  • CommentariesBenson: Thy labor will not be vain and fruitless, and the fruit thereof will not be taken from thee (as threatened in Deuteronomy 28) but enjoyed with comfort and satisfaction. "It shall be well with thee while thou livest, better when thou diest, and best of all in eternity" -Henry
*Conclusions: Give [the laborer] the fruit of her hands [to sustain her] and let her own works [the souls she's saved] happily praise her [as her soul finds contentment] beyond the gates.


Final Thoughts

To be rewarded for my labor is not something I immediately think I need. But, when I am honest with myself about it, I do crave recognition for my actions otherwise it feels as though I am laboring in vain. 

Doesn't God feel the same way? Throughout the Old Testament He acts so that, "They shall know that I am the Lord their God." (Exodus 6:7; Isaiah 41:20; I Kings 8:60) And, again, God revealed himself to us in the New Testament through Jesus' signs and wonders (John 2:1-11; John 4:46-54; John 5:1-15). And still today, God continues working in our lives so that His own works will praise Him in the gates. Yet the pattern of humanity is to ignore it. We want to be praised more than we want to give praise.

As we find ourselves longing for praise, let's commit to turning that craving to praising our Father and remember the only work that truly sustains is the work of the Father.

Growing with You,

Ready for Week Thirty-Five?

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