One of my favorite things to study in Scripture is the dynamics of men and women, our God-anointed roles and dissecting different relationships and extracting the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Yesterday I came across Ecclesiastes 7:26 and it really grabbed my attention:
I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.
Wow! That’s some serious business! I began to think about the different women in the Bible that may be categorized as a snare (trap) and the following women came to mind:
- Jezebel: The wicked queen and wife of Ahab (1 Kings). She was controlling, manipulative, deceptive, worshipped the false god of Baal and was so evil she put out a hit for all of God’s prophets to be killed.
- Delilah: Wife of Samson whose name means “she who weakened.” Delilah sold out and betrayed her own husband that loved her tremendously all for her own gain (money). She literally robbed him of his God-given strength.
- Potiphar’s Wife: This selfish, controlling woman attempted to seduce Joseph and when he took the righteous road and fled, she ripped off his loin-cloth and accused him of rape. He was thrown into prison for approximately 10-11 years.
In these examples (and many others) we can see the great power in the seduction of a woman. In our over-sexualized society it’s seemingly abnormal to be modest, gentle, kind, sacrificial and submissive. When we think of qualities like these, we often think of weakness. However, according to the Word of God, these qualities are advantageous for a successful marriage.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
This doesn’t mean that it’s bad to be charming and beautiful (after all, we are made in the image of God), but if what meets the eye takes precedence over valuing the heart of a godly woman, this is sure to be a trap for disaster.
As “women in waiting” we should find it of critical importance to be studious about what makes for a good wife and also learn from the mistakes of women that brought great destruction to their men and, often times, their lineage.
As a single man in preparation for marriage, it’s equally beneficial to become an expert with what Scripture has to say about the qualities of an excellent wife.
Make no mistake about it, I’m not proposing that we need to turn a blind eye to the preparation and development of what makes for a good husband, I’m simply diving in and unpacking the characteristics of a godly wife.
As previously highlighted in “Understanding Relationships Through Adam and Eve” we looked at how men and women were created differently and equipped with different qualities. Then in “Investing in the Higher Education of Marriage” we discussed the importance of being a seeker of wisdom and knowledge with regard to marriage.
For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)
In Proverbs 31, the wise mother of King Lemuel teaches him about the kind of woman he should pursue. Many women view this passage as an unobtainable standard of perfection and pressure to be perfect but if we dissect it, we can see the qualities that are very much in alignment with a Christ-centered life:
- Trustworthy and honest
- Does him good (respectful, honoring and encouraging)
- Hard working (not lazy and expecting everything to be provided for her)
- A smart businesswoman/opportunist
- Generous, compassionate and giving to the poor
- Utilizes the gifts she’s given
- Faithful and unafraid of the future
- Honors God by maintaining the household and raising up family
- Strong reputation in her community
There are tons and tons of Scriptures that warn against wicked women and the consequences that can come from being yoked to them. However, there are also tons and tons of passages that describe the characteristics and qualities of an excellent wife. If we look through the lens of Scripture instead of our fleshly eyeballs, if we trust that “God is the Ultimate Matchmaker” pursue God’s best instead of focusing on our own desire, it makes it pretty simple to identify excellence from evil.
If you are a “woman in waiting” what characteristic listed above is the most challenging for you? What can you do to grow in that area?