Dear Radio Friends,
In our broadcast today we focus our attention on the virtuous woman in marriage. We will consider what it is that makes a good wife. Just as in the last broadcast, the same is true today, this will be for the benefit of both the women and the men of the church. Not only are we as wives to learn from the important passage of God’s Word before us. But we as men too must learn to love and appreciate our wives for what they are and what they do for us. Again, we turn to the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs 31 and consider verses 11, 12: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
As we noticed in a previous broadcast when we studied verse 30 of this chapter, the majority of this chapter is devoted to describing a virtuous woman. And, indeed, we will need to take into account the context in which we find our text today. We will take notice exactly how a virtuous wife does her husband good and not evil. We will learn why a husband’s heart safely trusts her. We will learn why he is in need of nothing else since he will find it all in his wife. When we consider the Word of God in the verses we consider today, godly wives, we will receive encouragement but we will also see our weaknesses and receive encouragement from this Word of God.
SHE DOES HER HUSBAND GOOD
I. The Wife’s Good
We start with the second of the two verses we consider. We do so because verse 12 explains to us what a virtuous wife does in order to gain the trust of her husband. The question we immediately confront is, what is it this good a wife does?
The term “good” here in the Hebrew expresses two interrelated ideas. The first is to confer benefits on another. A godly wife’s actions or deeds are of benefit to her husband. To use the words of Paul in I Corinthians 7:34, she cares how she may please her husband. Her goal as a wife is to give of herself to her husband and his good. Whatever may benefit him is her priority. Now, once again, a husband does his wife good too. He gives of himself to please his wife too. But our focus is on the virtuous wife. A good marriage, dear listener, always focuses on two saints giving of themselves unselfishly to please their spouse. Yet, this is not a mechanical thing either. I mean, the wife is not a robot mechanically programmed to perform certain actions that will please her husband. She has tasks to perform in her home and family. She is fully aware that she was created as a help for her husband. For that reason, she sets herself to do that which will make her husband shine. Certainly, the saying, “Behind every good man is a good woman,” is true. We learn in Proverbs 31: 23 that her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders. Why? Because the clothing she makes is silk and purple. Her husband is well clothed by her hands. Now, that may seem trivial (although some of us husbands can be thankful that our wives pick out our clothes for us, given our own taste). That may seem trivial, but the point behind this is that a godly wife is out to make sure her husband has a good name.
But there is more implied in this term “good” as well. In reality, verses 13-27 of Proverbs 31 is an explanation of how she does her husband good all her days. Notice some of these ways: she willingly works with her hands. She rises when it is yet night and prepares food for her household. She stretches her hand to give to the poor. She looks well to her household. She opens her mouth with wisdom. She busies herself with these matters. Obviously, she is not lazy! She performs tasks in the home that her husband would probably neglect or at least would not have the time to do. She completes him. She does those many things that perhaps even go unnoticed by him each day. She keeps for him a clean home to which he loves to come at the close of his workday. She sees to it that he is clothed with clean clothes. And so the list can go on.
But there is another aspect to the term “good” in our text. It carries with it the idea of cheerfulness and happiness. The wife in her labors for her husband does so because to make her husband happy makes her happy! For the life of me, I cannot figure out why my wife repeatedly does some of the things she does for me. But she does them—over and over and over again—as routine and humdrum they may seem to be to me. She does them. And while she is doing them she is humming or singing. She is happy. She is content because she knows they need to be done and she is happy to do them. And then, when I sit down and think about all the things I just simply take for granted that she does for me: cleaning, washing, dishes, finances, keeping dates and schedules, going places with me to keep me company—it boggles my mind! She picks me up when I am down, she admonishes me when I feel sorry for myself, she helps carry the burdens of my life. Marriage is so much more than merely the sensual, sexual relationship that the unbeliever makes it out to be.
And although the wife may have her rough times, nevertheless, for the most part she does these things and then puts up with her husband’s grumpiness and frustrations besides. Wow! A virtuous woman does her husband good! She does him good! Husbands, do not be oblivious to what your wife does for you. You would not be the man you are today without that godly wife! Acknowledge her in these things. Praise her. Be tender towards her. And strive your best not to lay even more burdens on her shoulders. Instead seek to help her in her work. The virtuous wife does her husband good.
And not evil! Ah, the contrast that Solomon now gives. The Bible gives us examples of wives that have failed their husbands. Eve was tempted by the devil and then, in turn, tempted Adam. She was first in the deception. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die. Michal, David’s wife, despised him in his worship of God. Rachel loved Jacob, yet brought idols into his family. Rebekah deceived Isaac together with Jacob. But then, we need not point the fingers at these misdeeds of other women, need we, women of the church? We know our own weaknesses and sins in this regard. We are not perfect in our words and actions either, are we? A wife does her husband evil when she is lazy and does not go about her tasks of assisting her husband. She does him evil when her husband comes home at the end of the day only to hear complaints and sighs or a constant nagging. God’s Word wisely states in Proverbs 25:24, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” When a wife gives her husband bad spiritual advice, or assists him in his sin, or is constantly criticizing him, she does her husband evil. There is nothing more discouraging to a husband than when he sees no cheerfulness or joy in his wife in her tasks, or when she constantly chides him for his actions.
Now, once again, husbands, there are times when we bring this on ourselves when we are not giving of ourselves for the happiness of our wives. Sometimes our own sinful behavior brings on sadness. But even then, a wife, just as a husband, must examine herself to see whether she might be the cause of that unhappiness. There must be a mutual relationship of love and giving. It is always easy to blame the other rather than oneself for the evil we find in ourselves. In fact, it is the simplest way out—and modern psychiatry knows how to play on this—to blame our own unhappiness on someone else rather than acknowledging our own sins. A virtuous wife will do her husband good all the days of her life and not evil.
Why will she do him good? Well, first of all because she fears God! She is a God-fearing woman. She is the object of salvation! Her sins are forgiven her and she experiences the joy of her salvation. This in itself leads to cheerful and happy service to her husband. She considers her own unworthiness before God and with this considers what God in His great love has done for her. Besides, she has been sanctified in the blood of Jesus Christ. In Him she is a new creature. Her thoughts and desires are now toward God. That work of Christ is a powerful one, delivering His people from the clutches of sin, overcoming the unbelief, removing the darkness of sin. Through the cross the power of Satan has been destroyed. The Spirit of our risen Lord now dwells in our hearts and leads us into a deep and profound love for God. Out of her love for God, therefore, the wife gives of herself to her husband. She understands what Christ has given for her. And for Christ’s sake she is also willing to give of herself in loving duty to Christ in her particular relationship toward her husband. And that is the second reason she does her husband good.
Out of the love of God that has been shed abroad in her heart she loves her husband! And love is of such a nature that we forget about ourselves and seek to please another. Love suffers long and is kind. Love is not puffed up with pride. It is not selfish. It does not seek its own nor behave itself in an unseemly manner. Love is not easily provoked. It bears all things and endures all things. Love does not think evil of another, neither is it easily provoked. And if you want to be reminded of this love that a godly wife has toward her husband, all you have to do is keep your Bible open to I Corinthians 13. This is a love that is rooted in Jesus Christ. It is a love that reshapes—entirely reshapes—our view of marriage and our place in it. It rearranges our values and priorities in life. As wives we enter into marriage in order to serve our husbands and not in order to be served. We do not enter marriage begrudgingly or pulling our nose up at the tasks that lie before us. We cheerfully take up our place in marriage and do our husbands good all the days of our lives.
II. Her Husband’s Trust
Here is the result, verse 11, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need for spoil.” Now, this is not an exhortation to husbands. God’s Word here does not say: “Husbands, let your hearts now safely trust your wives. She will do you good, but you must trust her!” That is not what we have here in this verse. What we have here is what will naturally result when a wife does her husband good. When she does him good, his heart will naturally trust in her unless he is evil himself. That is a wonderful thing, you know: trust. We trust God because we know He will always do us good. We place our childlike confidence in Him. We throw our all upon Him. Well, that husband who loves his wife as much as she loves him will trust his wife—no, he will safely trust his wife. It is almost as if the Hebrew lays before us a redundancy—a repetition of terms. Trust and safely imply each other. When we trust someone, then we do feel safe in their care. We do not have suspicions that they might be doing us wrong or evil when we are not around. That really is trust. It is when we rely completely on another without fear or misgiving about them. We know we are safe within their care. There is nothing better in a marriage relationship than when there are no jealousies or reserves about one another. A faithful wife and a confiding husband are a mutual blessing to each other and this makes for a happy marriage.
This means a husband goes off to work at the beginning of the day and knows that when he returns home again his wife will have done him good there. He does not worry or fret over it. He safely trusts in her. His comforts are considered by her, his mind is relieved of all the cares his wife takes on. He leaves the home knowing that everything he is interested in is kept safely by her. He will come home and see the smile of his wife and a welcome hug. With that kind of a wife, a ruby, he has no misgivings at all.
As one commentator says: his home is the home of his heart! Think of that, people of God. Satan works so hard to destroy the home and the family, by working hard to arouse suspicion and unhappiness in the home. He does this in the wicked world in order to destroy the home and family. But he works hard in the church to do the same. He knows that if he destroys the home and family he will destroy the church and the line of the covenant that God establishes in the generations of believers. There are so many unhappy homes simply because the wife does not seek to do her husband good all the days of her life. The blame is on husbands, too. There is far too much selfishness going on. It is the spirit of the world in which we live—living to keep self happy. If only we, by God’s grace, may be able to see the beauty of a home that is described for us here in Proverbs 31, we would guard ourselves from untold misery in our home. Why make our homes a miserable place to live? The fix is easy enough—but only by God’s grace.
A home where a wife does her husband good provides all the riches needed for a God-fearing husband. Notice the end of verse 11: “he [the husband] shall have no need of spoils.” Better: he shall have no lack of spoils. The word “spoils” refers to the treasure that is carried on a merchant ship. Pirates knew what the spoils would be if they were able to seize that merchant ship because contained on it would be that chest of money collected for the wares that were sold. Well, a husband who safely trusts in his wife fully understands that he does not need to seek any kind of treasure elsewhere than in his own home. He does not have to go outside of the home and raid another place to find his treasure. He has everything and more in the way of wealth in the home itself.
Now, there is the best description that could ever be given to a home and a wife. The unbeliever thinks he can go out and find more pleasure and happiness in the world. He will go to the bars and restaurants. He thinks drunkenness and partying will give him real joy and contentment in life. He is not satisfied in the home. And the unbelieving wife will join him. It is little wonder that so many divorces take place today. The believing husband does not have to go anywhere else than his own home with his wife to find his spoils. This is true because his wife is his spoils. She is his treasure.
I had a man tell me once, “You know, I go out and lay brick all day. And after work the men at work want to go and have a good time at the bar and share a few drinks with each other. I tell them no every time they ask if I would like to join them. I can’t wait to go home at the end of my day of work. There is no greater pleasure for me than to go sit in my house with my wife and children.” That scene is a rarity today, it seems! A man lacking no spoils in his home, that is, a home that provides all his treasures! The wife is a husband’s treasure and he finds his pleasure in her.
III. A Lifelong Relationship
One other thing this passage teaches us: the virtuous wife will do her husband good all the days of her life. Now, that is an indication not only of the permanency of marriage, but also of a happy home and marriage. All the days of her life she does her husband good and not evil. All the days of his life he safely trusts in his wife. That is a picture of a home blessed by God and His Spirit. That is a home where Christ dwells. That is a home that is conscious of God’s presence! In other words, the life of love that is exhibited here, selfless, overwhelming love, never grows dim. A godly husband and wife, as they grow old together and the vim and vigor of youth fades away, grow more and more inseparably attached to one another. The wife committed to doing her husband good all the days of her life and the husband with thankfulness praising her and trusting her. That is the home we must make, wives. Peace for a lifetime.
May God bless our homes with wives that will do their husbands good all the days of their lives. And may husbands recognize them and praise them for their labor of love.
Dear Radio Friends,