So I was reading in Proverbs the other day, and the Lord directed me to 14:1–12…but I didn’t get past v. 1! There was just SO much there to meditate on that I had to write it all down to really be able to chew it over. So, here, I share:
“EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.”
Right off the bat, I see something that I can NOT squirm away from… regardless of my status as a woman. You see, so often when counseling women I hear, but “I’m not a wife or mother so that verse doesn’t apply to me,” or “what if I never get married…then I don’t have to do that,” or “I’m exempt from that passage as a single woman,” and yet this verse SO CLEARLY doesn’t exclude me as a single woman, but it in fact INCLUDES me mandating that “EVERY WISE WOMAN builds her house.” I am part of that “EVERY.” The fact that I don’t own a home, or have a household to manage doesn’t negate the authority this verse has over my life. I am without excuse for not governing my home in the same manner as a mother of a large house should. But what does it mean to “build a house?” Plenty of other passages, namely Proverbs 31, illustrate very practical ways of building one’s house. A study of this passage would show that she starts with fearing God above all else, then that fear trickles down into the details of her life and into the decisions she makes. The outcome is that her home is peaceful, organized, welcoming, frugal, and joyful.
But then there is also this grave warning tagged onto the end of this verse, “but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” Yikes, right?!? The day before I read this passage, a group of my friends and I went to go see a movie that depicted this verse to a “T”- maybe that’s why it struck me so profoundly and deeply that morning when I read it. We went to see “My Sister’s Keeper” and then sat in Which Wich and discussed it for an hour! 🙂 If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean when I say, “Watch this movie, and you’ll witness a foolish woman who tore her house down with her own hands”! For 15 years, she manipulated her two children while focusing all of her time and attention on the one. In the end, her family almost fell apart and she was almost left with nothing, and it was nobody’s fault but her own. And there’s even a point where you see a switching of roles in the home, and she begins to make all the decisions in the family, all for the sake of prolonging her daughter’s death. She becomes so focused on what she wants that she doesn’t think about anything else. I think as woman, we can be innately manipulative. I know I am. We work things out to meet our desires, we organize and plan to “make things happen.” We blur the lines by meeting our own agendas and calling it “following God’s will” as we turn our eyes away from the real issues – the SIN of my heart and the lack of trust in God’s sovereignty! If we are not careful, we can destroy our homes – and it’s our own fault. This verse just reemphasizes the all-important role of the woman in her home.
I also find that this verse asks a question that I cannot avoid answering, married or single. It suggests that I am either doing one or the other. I cannot do neither. I am either building or I am destroying. The question is, where do I fall? Am I being wise and building or am I being foolish and destroying? If the latter, I am doing it with my own hands. I would have no one to blame but myself and I must surrender my control. If the first, I must give God the glory because it is only by His sweet grace that I find any wisdom in my choices. Why would I say this? It is because “my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) It is because “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom 7:23-24) And as pitiful as this sounds, there is hope found in the very next verse and the very next chapter; Romans 7:25; 8:2-3a says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin…” (NAS)
If you don’t know Christ or the freedom that these verses speak about, please feel free to email or comment. There IS a way for every woman to build her house and not destroy it, but not without surrendering to Christ. Let us walk and learn together.