God’s Word for You
Proverbs 31:27 She watches over how things go in her household
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, November 2, 2019
27 Carefully she watches over how things go in her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
The first word of this verse is tsophiyah “she watches carefully” (the first letter, tsadeh, is the next letter of the alphabet). In a certain context, it might have a sinister meaning: “The wicked lie in wait (watch carefully) for the righteous” (Psalm 37:32), but here we have an example of a mom with eyes in the back of her head. My wife exhibits the same quality. She knows things in her house by the slightest sounds, by the feel of the air and (I suspect) the very tiniest changes in air pressure, where in the house are her children, her husband, and the pets.
She can sense if a window or shade is open or closed even if she is not in the room. She can call out from another room where in a drawer is the thing I’m looking for even if I haven’t told her what it is. Can opener, screwdriver, twist tie, the baggies in which we put various labels and coupons—all of these are stored up in her memory. She knows in which pile of papers is a particular receipt, under which bed is the likeliest place to find a certain sock, and even where I’ve left my favorite pen. She remembers which son has done his homework, which son has which class, quiz, or test the next day. She remembers who needs a lunch bag for tomorrow and who doesn’t. She can usually guess whether the car needs gas even without having ridden in it for three or four days.
She also has an uncanny sense as to whether any of her children has had an argument, is suffering from the first hour of an allergy or a cold, has made a new friend, or even has a new crush, or a broken heart. And she knows just what to do or say, or not do or say, in any case. She can be as gentle and soothing as a baby blanket, and as tough and unyielding as the kitchen sink, all in the right moment, always just when she needs to be.
She has proved with her life that she does not “eat the bread of idleness.” Solomon’s ideal wife does these things in theory. The Christian man who is truly blessed has found a wife who does them in fact, simply out of love for her loving Savior.
Some of the matters in this list of heroic virtues can be applied to Christ’s ideal wife, the Holy Christian Church. In that case, this is more an ideal to strive for: We should watch over how things are going within the Church; we should not eat the bread of idleness. But when any of us takes these words to heart and puts them into practice—as some excellent Christians like my wife have done—then this is not a passage that describes only an ideal for the Church to strive for, or an ideal Solomon wished he could find. It describes the actual life of a Christian woman, like my own wife, whose sins are covered by Christ Jesus her Lord, and who puts her faith into practice whether she is feeling joy or pain, exhaustion or frustration, fear, confidence, or the blessed rest of pain-free sleep. She lives the life of faith because she is reborn every day in the golden dawn of her baptismal faith: the heroic wife, rescued by faith in Jesus her Savior.
Pastor Timothy Smith