**Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.** Proverbs 31:23
The 31st chapter of Proverbs has been a thorn in the side for many women. They read those 31 verses and get buried under a truckload of guilt and unrealistic expectations. They worry that they are expected to live out every verse perfectly every day, all day. I don’t believe that to be a right response to any chapter of the Bible.
Ephesians 3, 1 Thessalonians 5, Revelation 1&2, John 15 are all chapters that have a long list of qualities that can bury any young Christian. I think we all need to step back and understand that God is a God of grace and mercy, long suffering and compassion. He is always ready to forgive. He is like that ALL THE TIME. And He is like that to ALL HIS CHILDREN. He isn’t gracious with one and cruel to another. He is a PERFECT FATHER.
So, when we look at this verse we need to have a little Biblical background and cultural understanding. There are several times in the Old Testament where we see the elders of a city gathered at the city gate. For example, in the Book of Ruth when Boaz goes before the elders to get permission to marry her. He goes to the gate and they discuss the inheritance laws and another family member cedes his claim on Naomi’s land, etc. All of this happens in front of the elders. They are the ones in any city who have the most experience, wisdom, years and discernment so they could help judge the simpler things that didn’t need to be brought before the king.
So, we can conclude that the Proverbs 31 woman was NOT A YOUNG woman. She has already learned the principles of Titus 2, which is why her husband’s heart is safe with her and she does him good. She learned from someone older than her and then put it into practice.
Also, she has servants (maidens). Not many young couples are in a place to have several maidens that they need to feed and provide for.
And this verse 23 tells us that her husband is known in the gates when he sits with the elders of the land. He may be able to hang out nearby or stand around listening if he is young, but it was unacceptable for a young man to take a seat with the elders before his time. It takes time to become an elder. It takes time to gain wisdom. It takes times to have the respect of the community. Her husband can’t sit with the elders if he doesn’t have some years behind him.
Ladies, we need to give ourselves TIME to learn the P31 principles.
If this chapter buries you in self-flagellation, STOP! God does not expect every verse to be perfectly performed today! Just pick one! Choose one, pray about it, ask for guidance, ask for teachers to come along to help you learn, study about it in other parts of the Bible, and GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!! God does!!!
Everyone of us is already perfect in God’s eyes. He sees us through the righteousness of Christ. He does not see us living in our sin. He is NOT lamenting our existence. He is THRILLED with us! He loves us with an everlasting love! He loves us exactly the same amount as He loved Jesus when He was on the earth. (Read John 17)
This is a subject that I get very passionate about so I am going to leave it at that. We need to be kind to ourselves and learn to love ourselves the way God does. With grace and MERCY. Be ye kind one to another, but start with yourself! And then give yourself some time, years in fact, to learn these P31 principles.