December 15, 2017
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)
When a group of married friends gathered with me to study the wise women found in Proverbs, I gave them a homework assignment: “Ask your husband, ‘What speaks love to you?’”
One husband said he treasured the look in his wife’s eyes when he entered the room. Another said the way his wife addressed him in conversation revealed her true feelings for him. And a third husband confessed that the sacrifices his wife willingly made on their behalf were the deepest expression of her love for him.
Clearly, these men were grateful for wives who lived out God’s Word in their homes, just as the first half of this verse describes: “The wise woman builds her house …” (Proverbs 14:1a).
Being wise means so much more than being intelligent, educated, talented or clever. It’s about knowing God. Wisdom is a female noun in Hebrew, and it’s plural. God applauds not just one wise woman but “every wise woman” (AMPC). In truth, “the wisest of women” (ESV). Isn’t that what all daughters of the King long to be?
Rather than a house of boards and concrete and roofing shingles, a wise and godly woman “strengthens her family” (NCV) and “makes her home what it should be” (ERV). Not a House Beautiful mansion or a Pinterest-ready showplace, but a grace-filled, love-centered, bursting-with-joy, covered-with-peace, don’t-mind-the-dust and kick-off-your-shoes kind of home.
And if you live by yourself in a place no bigger than a walk-in closet? It’s still home — your home — where people can be welcomed and God can be honored.
When I embraced the grace of God in my late 20s, I was a single woman with my own little urban fixer-upper. One of the first things I did was hang a huge portrait of Jesus in my entrance hall. A bit much? Maybe. But understated interior design wasn’t my goal.
I wanted the Lord front and center in my life. I needed His loving expression to greet me when I walked in the door and His gentle gaze to send me off to work. I knew the darkness I’d come from, and I didn’t want to go back.
The second half of the verse is a cautionary word, describing what happens when a woman doesn’t build her home on the solid foundation of God’s wisdom: “… but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1b, NIV). The emphasis on “her own actions” (ERV) means this girl can’t blame anybody else. She made a mess of things “by her own efforts” (TLB) and did so not with good intentions but “with her own evil works” (WYC).
A foolish woman isn’t merely careless or thoughtless or hormonal.
She’s traveling downward and dragging her household with her, eventually turning her beautiful home into an abandoned ruin. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve seen this happen — to a family member, a coworker, a friend. No doubt some of us have had happiness in our grasp and then threw it away, even as people around us whispered, “Fool!”
Of all the don’t-go-there verses in the Bible, this one hits especially hard because it’s directed at us, sisters. So, let’s circle back to the hopeful start of Proverbs 14:1a. “Homes are made by the wisdom of women” (GNT). If we give Him the keys to our dwelling places, if we seek His wisdom and ignore the voice of our adversary the devil, then we can say with confidence, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:25, NIV).
Lord, in our homes, in our families, in our circles of influence, help us seek to be wise women, to care for those around us, building up instead of tearing down. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (NIV)
Proverbs 8:11, “for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (NIV)
Discover how you can apply the ancient wisdom of Proverbs to your thoroughly modern life with Liz Curtis Higgs’ latest book, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path, a daily devotional and small-group Bible study, wrapped in a beautiful gift book brimming with encouragement.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Every day of the year, we have the opportunity to welcome His wisdom into our lives. When family and friends walk through your door this holiday season, what will they find that points them to the Lord Jesus and His glorious gift?
© 2017 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.