Dear Radio Friends,
We have examined the virtuous woman in single life. We have found that the unmarried woman has an important place in the home and church. She is not a second-rate in the church just because she is not wed. She is a virtuous woman, after all. Her beauty is that of her virtues of strength and honor, wisdom and kindness. This adornment is hers whether married or not. Since she fears God she also lives a life of piety or godliness. And these are what make her beautiful—not the outward decorating of the hair and the putting on of apparel and jewelry. It is the hidden woman of the heart. These are outstanding characteristics of a virtuous woman whether married or single.
But we must also realize that the single life is not the norm in the church. We cannot deny what the psalmist says in Psalm 68:6: “God setteth the solitary in families.” Just as in the world at large, so also in the church, men marry and give in marriage. This will continue until the end of time. And marriage will, in turn, produce children—at least it will in the church.
It is for that reason, too, that it is but natural that our examination of the virtuous woman take us into marriage. We will need to consider the virtuous wife and the virtuous mother. We will see the need of the elder women teaching the younger women in the church. We will need to take a look at those women who have unbelieving husbands and their particular calling. In all these relationships and situations the Word of God praises women who are God-fearing and pious.
Today we consider the Word of God found in Proverbs 18:22: “Who findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” This proverb addresses the godly man as well as woman. Nevertheless, even this verse focuses our attention on the woman.
FINDING A GOD-FEARING WIFE
I. A Rare Gem
It seems that the Word of God, in the verse we consider, gives a rather general and nondescriptive word about finding a wife. Solomon informs us that it is a good thing. Now, a good thing can refer to almost anything, as long as it is positive. Finding a wife is good. But this description comes to life when we view the wording as we find it in the original Hebrew.
Literally we read, “Whoso finds a woman finds good.” Immediately this draws our attention to the creation account in Genesis 2:18-24, where God said, “it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a help meet for him.” This account here in Genesis calls attention not only to the creation of the woman, but also to the institution of marriage. God created a woman—a human being that was a perfect counterpart to the man. She was meet for him, that is, fitted or adapted by God to be a companion and help for the man. Physically, psychologically, and spiritually the woman was created by God as a piece of a puzzle that fits exactly together with the man. She was the female counterpart made for the man. This was the purpose of her creation. It is good therefore that man is not alone, but that he is able through marriage to find a woman to be his wife so that she might complete him as a companion, a support, and a help. This is why when a man finds a woman to be his wife he finds what is meant by God to be a good thing for him.
But it is obvious from the relationship of marriage in today’s world that men who find themselves a wife do not always find a good thing. The rate of divorce in our own society and even in the church has reached epidemic stages. Those men and woman who go through a bitter divorce would say (some matter-of-factly; others with deep resentment) “we certainly did not find a good thing in marriage!” This is due to the fact, on the one hand, that the man did not carefully search out and find a proper godly wife. And, on the other hand, he did not strive to live with his wife in all godliness and holiness. But, given the instruction of the proverb we consider today, we also discover that a virtuous woman is indeed a rare find! She is a gem of great value because she is a rare gem—someone that takes finding!
What makes her this gem is, in the first place, that she understands out of a believing heart who she is in the marriage. She was created out of the man because she was created to be a help to her husband and to do him good. We read in I Corinthians 11:8, 9: “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” The woman that believes her place in the marriage is for the benefit of her husband, that she is given by God to him in order that she may aid and assist him—the woman who lives this way in marriage is indeed a virtuous woman. Now, this does not mean that she (and her husband ought not to view it that way either) is some kind of slave in her own home. A man who finds a woman who is of such a mind finds a good thing! It is not good that man should be alone. He needs someone to help him. He needs a woman that will submit to his rule willingly, who will encourage him when he is down, who will make his home a comfortable place to live, a haven of rest when he comes home from a long day at work. He needs a woman who assists him in his decisions and advises him in matters with which he struggles. In short, the husband needs a friend, the most intimate, close, and understanding friend that he will ever find. When he finds such a woman and weds her, he has found a good thing—a woman that always has his good at heart and is willing to give of herself, to expend of herself to help him. That woman is a rare gem! Her price, Solomon says in Proverbs 31:10, is far above the price of rubies! And this is true because such a woman is one who fears God. She is strong, honorable, wise, and kind. She is humble. Ah, there is the best word to describe her—she is not proud and selfish. She is selfless and humble. A man who finds a wife of this sort—one who fears and loves God, knows her blessed place in marriage, and who is humble—finds a good thing!
One other truth must come to the foreground in this passage we consider. A man who finds a woman of this sort finds favor of the Lord. We will return to that last phrase in our text later. But notice the name of God used here in this verse. It is the name Jehovah. It means “I Am.” This name refers to God’s unchangeableness and His eternity. God is God. And this is true because He is! He has no beginning or end. He dwells in eternity and He always was and always will be God. Also, this name implies that this God does not change. He need not change. He is. He is ever the same.
Now, we may ask what all of this has to do with a man finding a good wife, but obviously Solomon finds that to be the case in the verse we have before us. This is true because the name Jehovah is the name of God’s covenant. God has chosen a people unto himself in eternity in Christ. These people He always views in Christ because in Christ their sins are covered and they are righteous before Him. They are, therefore, God’s people. He has entered into a relationship of love and fellowship with them. And in that love He makes a promise to them that He will be their God to a thousand generations. In other words, God’s covenant follows His church from the beginning of time to the end in each succeeding generation.
In His unchanging faithfulness to His church, God has promised that He would gather and save a church unto Himself out of the generations of believers. The man who finds a wife who knows and believes this truth has found a good thing. A woman was created by God in order that she and her husband might find physical pleasure in each other. That was a part of her creation. She was created meet for her husband—perfectly adapted by God to procreate. God did not give this gift to a husband and wife merely for their pleasure. The sexual relationship is indeed viewed by the wicked in this way—it is merely a fun, recreational activity. That view is horribly sinful. This is why fornication and adultery kill the marriage relationship. The reason God created a man and woman and then also the institution of marriage is that of procreation. It is true, that a godly woman and her husband who fear Jehovah do not view her place in marriage merely as a baby-maker who is always walking around the house “barefoot and pregnant,” as the saying goes. Her relationship to her husband is far more comprehensive than only bringing forth children.
At the same time, she does understand and love the covenant God has established with her and her home. She also understands that, if possible, she brings forth children of the church and covenant. On her falls the most glorious, most blessed, most difficult task of bringing forth and training the next generation of believers. I cannot think of a task more laborious and painful, yet more rewarding and all glorious than that! A godly man who finds a virtuous woman will also find this kind of tender, yet determined attitude in her. And that too makes her a rare gem. There are not many women today anymore that can lay hold of that vision and embrace it. There are not many women today who can stand up under the mockery, revilement, and condemnation our present society heaps on them. But, men, whoever finds that kind of wife finds a good thing!
II. Sanctified Searching
“Finds.” That word means acquires. And when we find something it is only through searching. It is true, I suppose, that if something were as common as grass it would not take much in the way of searching. But if we lived in a desert, it would take a lot of searching to find that grass. The same is true of a wife—a good wife—a wife that is God-fearing, who is characterized by the virtues of strength, honor, wisdom, kindness, and humility. Or, to use the figure we have already used today, since the price of a virtuous woman is far above rubies she is a rare gem.
We are not going to find a ruby by digging in our back yards. To find a ruby a man will have to search. It is a rare gemstone mined mainly out of countries in the Far East. Only a few rubies have been found in the United States: in Montana, Wyoming, and the Carolinas. It is considered one of the four most precious gems in the world. I say this only because the same can be said of a virtuous woman who will make a good wife. She is not to be found everywhere and it takes some searching to find her. But when a man finds and acquires her he has found a good thing—a rare commodity! So a man, according to this Word of God, goes in search of this wife.
The method used in today’s society is that of dating. It is no longer courting, which in my estimation would be much more useful in finding the right wife. But today a man takes a woman out with him on a date. The problem is that our wicked, unbelieving society has defined dating in a sinful way. Dating has become recreational. The emphasis is on a man taking a woman out to have fun with her. He takes her out once or twice with no intention to marry her. Many men in this wicked world (and women, too, for that matter) use dating to have casual, noncommittal sex with each other. Dating and fornication have almost become synonymous in our present society. In the mind of an unbeliever, two or even three generations removed now from a proper view of courtship, fornication is a must. It is necessary because love consists of sexual interest in each other. How can a man find out if he is in “love” with a woman unless he have a sexual relationship with her? How horrible! But even if dating is used only to have fun, it is being misused. Dating is a serious tool that ought to be used to search for a wife! It is necessary to find out if the woman we are dating is indeed that gem of great price! Dating therefore must always be taken seriously. By means of it a young man and woman are searching for the right God-fearing mate with whom they will spend the rest of their life! It is that serious. It is not fun and games. I have to find a virtuous woman that will love me and cherish me for the rest of her life. And vice versa. Marriage is until death us do part, after all! How important for me to search carefully to find a wife that is such a good thing that together we can spend a lifetime of joy with one another!
But where am I going to find this rare gem? Where do I find a God-fearing woman? When I shop for a ruby, do I go to a hardware store or a grocery store? Obviously not; I go to a jewelry store. And I am pretty fussy about which jewelry store I visit too. I want a reputable one—not one that will sell me a clouded, chipped ruby. Well, where am I going to search for a wife? In the church. I do not find a God-fearing wife with all the virtues of a pious woman in the wicked world. I do not find her sitting in some bar. I will not find her at the parties, the clubs, the chat rooms of this unbelieving world. That is like looking for a ruby in Home Depot. I will look in the church. This is where a woman who fears the Lord will be found. Her salvation calls her out of this world and into the church. That is where a God-fearing husband will be found too.
Believers bind themselves to the church of Jesus Christ in this world. The church institute, therefore, is where one will find a godly spouse. And even in the church we must be particular. It will not be just any church where we will look. We will look for a woman or man who is of like faith with us. And even in the church where there are those of like faith I will be careful. They are not all Israel that call themselves Israel. In the faithful church there are those who do not fear God even though they may go through the outward motions. A man must look for a woman who fears God—a fear that is rooted in the heart but that shows in her adornment. She will walk in humility and kindness. She will bring forth works accordingly. That is what a man should search for. And that is what a woman must look for in a man that is searching.
In other words, the searching of our text is a sanctified searching. It is a searching that flows out of a redeemed heart that is looking for a woman set apart by God unto holiness. A man ought never to be interested in mere outward beauty. He ought not to be lured in by that woman of this world that has nothing to offer if she were to become a wife. He must look for a woman who is sanctified—set apart and made holy and who is therefore chaste and dedicated to serving the Lord. And that means that the man needs to be holy and set apart as well. His searching must be sanctified in order to lead him to a wife that is virtuous. Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing! And such a good wife will do that man good all the days of his life.
III. Subsequent Blessing
A man who finds such a wife, God’s Word informs us, “obtains favor of Jehovah.” God approves of this deed. God’s divine favor rests upon such a man. He has found a good thing. And God will guard and preserve such a man and his wife. When the hardships of marriage confront them, God will protect married persons sometimes when they are least deserving of it. This is the subsequent blessing that is given to that man who finds a wife. God is pleased with him. Such a man will take delight in his wife, and if the Lord grants children, they will grow up in his house and be a blessing to him.
This is good. Not just objectively does a man find a good thing. A wife of this sort is good. She is what God wants. But subjectively a man finds this wife good for him too. She will do him good all the days of her life. That is a real blessing! Every person wants a wife or a husband that will make them happy. Otherwise, why marry? Well, this is how you will find happiness with your wife. When she knows why God wants her to enter marriage and finds her joy in that too. He that finds a wife finds a good thing!
Dear Radio Friends,