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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 31:11 Her husband’s heart

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

11 Her husband’s heart trusts in her,
    and he lacks nothing of value.

The word bataḥ is to trust or rely on something. Solomon takes the letter B (beth) and runs with it poetically throughout the entire first stich of the verse with the delightfully alliterative: bataḥ bah leb baalah, “her baal’s (husband’s) heart trusts her.” Rather than just “man,” Solomon uses Baal in its original meaning, “husband.” The Canaanites applied this word to a false god, but the word itself was used in every household in Israel without offending.

The heroic wife is entrusted with the family’s day to day matters. The husband in this case has a place as a city elder (verse 23), judging cases in the city gate (compare Ruth 4:1-11). He trusts his wife completely, in his heart (not just for show), with everything to do with their family’s finances and property. He is able to carry on with other matters, spiritual or civic, without worrying at all about the state of affairs at home. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do his part. At home, his heroic wife is like a top sergeant. She gives the children their chores to do (she has hired servants as well, verse 15), and she hands her husband a list of things he should take care of. This is not because they have reversed the roles God gave Adam and Eve and all married couples, not at all. Within those roles, he will do whatever is necessary to help her, just as she does everything she can to help him. In the heat of battle, the corporal manning a big gun can call out, “Lieutenant, bring me another shell!” without exceeding his authority, and so it is with the wife who, having many chores of her own, asks her husband to take care of this or that around the house or the property.

“Value” here is the noun shalal. It usually means “plunder” or “spoils,” as in Daniel 11:24, “He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers,” and 2 Samuel 3:22, “a great deal of plunder.” Here it shows that a husband with a heroic wife knows that she will look after the wealth of the family in such a way that what might have seemed like plunder (income over and above what is necessary) is well looked-after, invested, or used for the benefit of the household. She does not squander anything, and does not allow her children (or husband) to squander or piddle away what they have. She is thrifty and frugal with her own needs and the needs of the home (verse 15), but generous when it comes to others in need (verse 20). She also gives generously to the Lord. Not every wife can do what she does, but every wife and every husband can support one another within their family and trust each other to do what is best for them and to the glory of God.

Each year, when the congregation sets its budget (and when I am told by the voters whether I will receive the same salary, or a cost of living increase, or a small raise, or none of these), my wife sits down with me and asks about our offerings for the coming year: By how much will we increase what we give? She doesn’t worry about whether we will be “getting more,” but how much more we can give. After we talk about that, and how it will pan out, week by week, as she writes out checks every Saturday night for our Sunday offerings, we examine what the tuition costs will be for our sons in college, and for our sons in high school, and so on. By doing this, she has taught our children with her regular and faithful example what it means to give offerings to God out of faith and not out of any obligation. She puts the Lord first even ahead of insurance, medicine, tuition, house, vehicle, food, the charities she and I support, and a long way ahead of lesser things like clothes and entertainment.

By doing this, she has also been a Christian example for me, and she has made it easy for me to give suggestions and examples to the children and members of our church. I never need to imagine anything when it comes to sanctified living, to managing a home or being a good Christian at work and at home.

“He lacks nothing of value.” This speaks to the wife’s management of the family’s assets, but it also speaks to her own value; her own precious pricelessness. In her ideas, her personality, her thoughts, words, and actions, she will make her grateful husband ask: Who else could find a heroic wife like mine?

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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