Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: If you never ate anything, you’d be really weak. It would be hard to serve other people in that condition. That’s true in a spiritual sense too. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you’re not getting spiritual food on a consistent, daily basis from the Word of God, then you will not have the resources, the ability, the insight, the wisdom, the strength, the desire, or the motivation to meet your family’s physical and temporal needs.

Leslie: It’s Monday, February 26th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

A couple of weeks ago I said you would grow to appreciate the “Proverbs 31 woman,” even if you’ve been intimidated by her before. After a couple of weeks in our series, The Counter-cultural Woman, I hope you’ve discovered this to be the case. Just as I introduced this woman a couple of weeks ago, would you do the same thing for your friends?

If you visit ReviveOurHearts.com, you’ll read about ways to share Nancy’s messages. For example, you can e-mail a copy of today’s transcript or send a fun Revive Our Hearts E-Card. Why don’t you do that—right after listening to this program. Nancy is continuing in her series called The Counter-Cultural Woman.

Nancy: Some of you are wondering about this point if we’re going to get through Proverbs 31. We are, but I just have to tell you—this passage is being ignited in my heart!

Let me pick up, as we move on. We’re going to go into verse 16 today. But let me pick up at verse 10 and just read through verse 16 so we can track where we’ve been, and see the context for the verse we’re going to look at today.

We’re hearing the words of a king, telling us what it was that his mother taught him when he was a young prince; teaching him what qualities to look for in a wife. He’s talking about what it means to be a virtuous woman. “Who can find a virtuous wife [or woman]? For her worth is far above rubies” (verse 10). This is a woman of great value, of great worth.

Remember that your worth—your value—is not determined by what others think about you. The world tells us that the way others view you: whether your parents loved you or not, whether your husband loves you or not or treats you respectfully or not—is how people today develop their sense of self-worth.

But this passage tells us that a woman’s true worth is determined by who she is in Christ, the kind of heart she has, the kind of walk she has. So your self-worth is not determined by what others have done to you, by what others have said to you, or by how others have treated you. It’s determined by who you are. If you are an excellent, virtuous woman—and I want to say becoming an excellent, virtuous woman—then your worth is far greater than that of gems or jewels or any amount of money in a bank account.

Then we saw in verse 11 that this woman is trustworthy. “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” Or as some of your translations say, “no need of spoil” (KJV). He has what he needs in this woman because she is faithful to him. She can be counted upon to meet his needs and to be faithful to him—unconditionally.

He may or may not meet her needs. There will be times with the best of husbands when he either doesn’t know what her needs are, is not able to meet them, he is insensitive to them, is just not walking with God. Regardless, she can be counted upon to be faithful to him. He can trust in her.

Verse 12: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Some unconditional love! She’s a woman who loves God, and as a result, she loves her husband. As God has done good to her and shown mercy to her—“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). Here is a woman who does good and not evil to her husband, all the days of her life.

Verse 13: “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.” Here we begin to see the practical outworking of this woman who fears the Lord, who loves her husband, who loves her children, and who has a heart for serving God and her family. She takes initiative; she is practical; she is diligent; and she works willingly. She works out of her home; she works with her hands; and we saw the beauty of having hands that serve Christ and others.

Then, with verses 14 and 15, we talked about the importance of food and providing food for your family—again, giving them a taste for that eternal spiritual food that they can partake of in this life and in the next. “She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.”

Here’s a woman who’s concerned about her family being fed balanced and nutritious meals. Now that doesn’t mean she never calls out for Pizza Hut, but it means she’s conscientiously thinking about how her family’s physical needs and well-being can be met.

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household.” Obviously, we’re talking about physical provision here. But it occurred to me as I was meditating on this passage last night—here is a woman who also gets up in the morning to get some food from the Word of God so that she will have spiritual food to provide for her family.

If you’re not getting spiritual food on a consistent, daily basis from the Word of God, then you will not have the resources, the ability, the insight, the wisdom, the strength, the desire, or the motivation to meet your family’s physical and temporal needs.

“She provides food for her household, and a portion [tasks or assignments] for her maidservants” (verse 15). We said in a recent session that we may not have literal “maidservants,” but we do have lots of technological helps and aids and assistants.

I read a quote that says that every person in the country—man, woman, and child—it has been said, has the equivalent of 100 full time servants in the form of things like: dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers, and kitchen appliances.1

But she organizes these aids, these assistants, to do the work that needs to be done. Now, verse 16 tells us, “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.” There are a number of things that this verse makes clear to us. The first and most obvious is that she considers. She thinks before she spends. She’s not an impulsive spender.

She’s not one of these women who goes out and sees this great buy and then says, “Charge it.” She stops to think, “Is this something we need? Is this something that will benefit our family? Is this a purchase that my husband would feel good about?” Remember, her husband’s heart trusts in her. She’s not going to make decisions that run counter to his direction and his leadership for the family. “Is this something we can afford?” She thinks before she buys.

My dad used to tease my mother that she saved him thousands of dollars in sales. But just because something is on sale doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good buy or that it’s something that is needed or something that it’s the right time or that the family can afford.

I want to say that my dad greatly appreciated all the money that my mother saved him on sales as she was clothing our family of seven children, and the fact that she did make thoughtful and careful and wise purchases. That’s the heart of a virtuous or excellent woman.

So here’s a woman. She sees a field that’s for sale. She considers its value. She considers her family’s financial situation, their needs, their priorities, their financial planning. She consults with her husband and they agree together that this is what is best for their family. Then she goes ahead and makes a purchase. But she does it as a team player. She’s serving her family.

Keep in mind, this was probably not a ranch she was purchasing but a lot—a piece of property that would be used to generate profit or economic benefit for their family. The Amplified Translation says at this point, and I like it on this. Verse 16 says, “She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it, [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.”

So here is a woman who has good business instincts, a good business mind, and wise business dealings. She knows how to determine if something will be of value in meeting the needs of her family.

There are a lot of women who don’t think it’s important to have a good head about financial matters—and that line of thinking, actually, can prove to be a great burden and liability to her husband and to her family.

How exactly, a husband and wife divide all this up certainly is up for discussion. The husband will give the overall direction as to who is actually signing the checks, who is actually keeping the ledger and keeping the books. But we know that the basic direction and leadership for the family will come—in the norm, in God’s ideal—through the husband.

But here’s a woman who is a partner with her husband. She is his helper. She realizes that it’s important that she be able to think wisely and prudently about financial matters.

You are better off in your family having less—having not as many things; having one vehicle instead of two; having fewer things; waiting to get that nicer or larger home; being more cramped together for a period of time, and having peace in your home, love in your home, and oneness of spirit in your home—than spending money that your husband doesn’t make or forcing him to take another job or forcing yourself into the marketplace. Just so that you can support that spending habit—then having to live with the bills, the indebtedness, the pressure, the conflict, the arguments.

You know, as well as I do, how many arguments in marriage are based on financial matters because women and men aren’t being a team. Husbands and wives aren’t acting together as one. A wife has a huge responsibility here, to live within the resources that God provides through her husband.

Leslie: Just about every day you and I are making financial decisions. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss just explained, each of these choices represents an opportunity to glorify God. Maybe your finances and working-life don’t really reflect your priorities. You wish it didn’t have to be that way, but it’s hard to slow down long enough to make a change.

Let me give you one helpful, next step. Check out a book called There’s No Place Like Home. It was co-written by a mom who knows the messy reality of life on a budget, and it was co-written by a financial planner. If you need help changing your lifestyle so that it better reflects your priorities, this book is what you need.

You can order There’s No Place Like Home, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. It’s just one of the resources at our website that will show you how biblical principles apply to the messiness of real life. 

Maybe you relate to the messiness of real life more than anything else we’ve been talking about. Well, Nancy’s back to speak to you.

Nancy: I was just going through a file this morning of some emails that I’ve received from women who listen to Revive Our Hearts. Some of them are very encouraging—they’re married to a godly men and they (as husband and wife) are really pursuing the Lord and trying to raise up their family in the ways of God. That’s a hard enough life as it is in this world, to do that with the best of marriages and the best of hearts.

Then I get a lot of other emails and letters from women who say, “You can’t imagine how it is in my home. My husband is an alcoholic. My children are doing drugs. I come from an abusive background. I’ve been twice divorced. I’m on my own. I’m a single mother with all these children.” Some of these women really want to please the Lord but are in circumstances that are not ideal.

I know that is probably more the norm today than people who are living with the picture that we see in Proverbs 31, of a God-fearing husband and a God-fearing wife and God-fearing children. Let me just say, “That doesn’t happen overnight. No family starts out that way in terms of maturity. It takes a process; it takes growth.”

I know that there are many, many women, who listen to this program who get discouraged very easily. When they seek to fear the Lord, they’re doing it in the context of a home where it’s extremely difficult.

Can I just say to you women that God has grace for you for that situation! I can’t give you a formula. I can’t tell you how to solve it. I can’t tell you how. You can’t make your husband a believer. You can’t make your husband be a godly man.

But I’ll tell you what you can do—focus on being a woman of God; a woman who fears the Lord, crying out to the Lord for grace, as every one of us has to do. All of us in our life situation, whatever it is, have to say, “Lord, I can’t do this without You. I can’t do this on my own.”

It’s a good thing when we are in a position where we can’t make it without God; where our circumstances force us to cry out to God, day after day for help and grace and strength and wisdom!

My heart goes out to you. I do pray for women who are listening to this program, who are trying to apply the Word of God in very tough life circumstances and situations. All I can say to you is that I know there is grace, and I know that you can be a woman of God in the midst of any life circumstance.

You can walk with God. You can have a grateful spirit, a trustworthy spirit, a loyal spirit, a diligent spirit—all the qualities we’re seeing in this virtuous, excellent woman that don’t depend on what kind of husband you have or if you have a husband. They depend on your relationship with God—that is what we want to keep central and foremost as we continue in this study in Proverbs chapter 31.

I know there are a lot of women, particularly those of you who have made that tough decision to stay at home—when you have children in the home and are not earning an income outside your home—it’s very difficult in many cases to make ends meet.

It takes wisdom from God to know how to do that. It takes crying out to the Lord and saying, “Lord, You are our ultimate provider,” and asking God to meet your needs. Not just using human reason or understanding to say, “Oh, that must mean I have to go get a job.”

Maybe God wants to provide for your family in ways that are more like what He did for the children of Israel in the wilderness when He sent manna from heaven. You say, “God wouldn’t do that.” I’ll tell you what, if you trust God and you obey God, God will do whatever He has to do to meet your needs.

He used a raven to feed Elijah in a time of drought. If God needs to send a raven to feed you, I’m just simple enough to believe that if that’s what it takes, God can do it. He just may. But He will do whatever is necessary to meet your needs as you walk in faith and in obedience.

This woman is investing her savings and her earnings from the fruit of her hands to increase the family capital—to increase, to enhance the family’s financial well-being. Verse 16 tells us, “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits [or out of her earnings, or some translations say, “from the fruit of her hands.” That’s what profits are. It’s the fruit of your hands.] she plants a vineyard.”

Let me just ask you to skip down to verse 24, and I want to bring that verse up in this context: “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.” We see here a woman who saves so that she has enough left over to do two things.

One, and we’ll come to this in another session, she can be a giver. She’s able to minister to the poor. But she also makes enough beyond that that she can sell the surplus; sell those sashes, those garments to the merchants and can bring in some extra income for the family. By doing this, she’s not being the breadwinner. I realize that there are some situations where a woman has no other alternative than to be the primary breadwinner, but we’re talking about what is the ideal here.

There are those who would hold up the woman in this passage as an example of a “career woman.” They say, “Look. This ‘Proverbs 31 woman,’ she’s out there. She’s selling and buying fields and selling sashes and doing merchandising or whatever.” But I tell you what. As you meditate on this passage, you realize that this woman is not our modern day view of a career woman.

On the contrary, she is working out of her home. She makes these garments at home and then she sells them to the merchants. That doesn’t’ mean she’s a merchant. When it says that she’s “like the merchant ships,” it’s talking about her bringing home food and groceries, not necessarily a paycheck.

When she buys a field, as one writer has said, that doesn’t make her a real estate agent, any more than buying shoes for your family makes you a shoe salesman. This isn’t “out of her home investing.” She is investing with her husband—as a team—in ways that are contributing to the family’s well-being.

She develops a cottage industry. She does that by developing a skill that first her family needs. They need clothes, so she learns how to make clothes. They need food, so she learns how to purchase food in an economical and wise way. She develops a skill that contributes to her family, and then she’s able to make that skill profitable beyond her home.

She’s productive, but she’s not the primary breadwinner—that is her husband’s responsibility. But she does make an economic contribution. Her goal is not to make money for personal fulfillment. It’s not so she can have her own private spending account. It’s always for the sake or the benefit of her family.

Keep in mind here that her goal is not to build a business. Her goal is to build a home, to build a family, to build her husband and her children, to build a family name, and to build the next generation. “The wise woman builds her home, but the foolish tears it down with her hands,” Proverbs 14 tells us (verse 1, paraphrase).

This woman is not out there looking for how she can make herself a name, how she can have her own career, how she can have her own reputation, or how she can have her own money. She’s one with her husband. She’s committed to serving and loving and giving, and she is investing in any way that she can, including financially, in order that her family can be all that God intended them to be.

Leslie: Building a home. That needs to be the focus for each one of us, whether our work today finds us in a carpool line, an office, or in my case, a studio. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has pointed us to a goal that’s much higher than collecting more stuff or climbing a corporate ladder.

Maybe you are relatively new to the teaching of Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and you’ve been intrigued by what you’ve heard today. Would you learn more about what it means to build a home? Nancy, and some other wise women, have written a book called Becoming God's True Woman. Every area of your life can be an opportunity to build your home for God’s glory, and this book will show you how! Look for it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

You hear a couple of these pieces of advice all the time: “You need to exercise every day,” and “You need to spend time with the Lord every day.” Has it ever occurred to you that there’s a connection between the two—between study and exercise? Tomorrow, Nancy will explain how one might help you with the other. She’ll pray with us now.

Nancy: As we’ve talked about this passage Lord, I think of women that I know, who are in homes where they’re struggling to make ends meet. Also, I think of some wives and husbands, together, who’ve made a difficult choice: to have the wife come into the home—particularly during those child-rearing years, to be focusing her energy, her attention, her affection, and her time on that family.

I want to lift up, particularly, those women to you, Lord, and pray that You would encourage them; that You would strengthen them; that You would teach them and their husbands, to cry out to You as their Provider. I pray that You would teach them to walk by faith; that You would demonstrate to them Your power in this very secular world. I pray that You would provide in ways that are supernatural and that their homes, their lives, will become a testimony or a tribute to Your power and Your ability to meet their needs.

I pray that You would give them wisdom and show them how they can contribute economically to the well-being of the family and that You would help them develop the skills and abilities that they can use, not only in ministering to their family, but beyond, to be givers, and even to have additional income as they work out of their homes—workers at home.

Show them how to be productive; how to be fruitful; how to be enterprising; and how to be wise. Would You glorify Yourself, as we seek to live out the priorities that You have established for our lives? I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

1Mary Pride, The Way Home (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1985), 194.

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