TEXT: Proverbs 31:10-31
The students will be able to explain that when each member of a family fulfills his responsibility as directed by God’s Word, that family can expect God’s blessing.
God has always placed a great value on a righteous home. His plan from the beginning was that marriage was to be lifelong. The man is the head of the household and is expected to provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8). The wife is to love her husband and children and be a keeper of the home (Titus 2:4-5). Children are to be obedient to their parents and to honor their father and mother (Ephesians 6:1-2). The Lord’s blessing will surely rest upon the family that will follow the instructions given in God’s Word. Long before the Law of Moses was given, the Lord noted that Abraham was one who managed his household well.
Proverbs: The 20th book of the Old Testament was collected and poetically arranged by Solomon or by someone of like authority. A proverb is a short “pithy, axiomatic” saying primarily for the teaching of the young; a form of practical thoughts that by repetition stick in the mind.
Chapter 31: “A Mother’s Counsel to a King,” and if so, then Bathsheba was the mother who taught her son this beautiful poem. In verse 1, Lemuel is thought to be another name for Solomon.
Virtuous (verse 10): Having chastity or purity
Rubies (verse 10): Concerning the meaning of the Hebrew word translated rubies, there is much difference of opinion (Job 28:18; Proverbs 3:15; 8:11; 31:10). Some suppose coral to be intended; others pearl, supposing that the original word signifies merely bright in color or color of a reddish tinge. The real ruby is a red sapphire, and next in value to the diamond, the most valued of precious stones. The finest rubies are mostly from Ceylon. The color of a ruby may vary from carmine (purplish red) to crimson.
Flax (verse 13): A yellowish-stemmed plant with bright blue flowers. The root contains oil which is used as a food for cattle. The stem is used for the spinning of linen which in ancient times was done by women of noble birth. Flax grew in Palestine even before the Israelites’ conquest of that country. The women would dry the flax, then peel the stalks and separate the fibers by hackling.
Distaff (verse 19): The staff around which flax was wound for spinning.
Scarlet (verse 21): An orange-red color much prized by ancients.
Girdle (verse 24): A wide sash or belt worn by men and women to hold the looser garments. The common girdle was made of leather, but the finer ones were made of linen, embroidered with silk and sometimes with gold and silver thread and frequently studded with pearls, gold, or precious stones. Girdles were used as pockets and, for the military, were made to hold a dagger or sword.
For our Mother’s Day lesson, Proverbs portrays a beautiful example of a godly mother. She is honored by her children and praised by her husband who implicitly trusts in her. However, as valuable as the influence of a Christian mother and wife is, it in no way releases the other members of the family from their obligations to the Lord. Each of us has a responsibility to God that no one else can fill. If we accept that responsibility we will be blessed here on earth and rewarded in Heaven.
- What is indicated by the phrase, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” List some of the characteristics of this woman, and note some of the pressures or trends in our world today which might influence a woman striving to exemplify these traits.
Response: The initial phrase indicates that this type of woman is hard to find. Allow time for your students to discuss the second part of the question. Some ideas offered may include: the assurance that the husband can safely trust in her is influenced by increasing trends to divorce and infidelity; her care and labor for others is contrasted to present-day attitudes of self-indulgence and self-absorption; that “she looketh well to the ways of her household” is influenced by the increasing number of mothers working outside the home.
- The woman described in our lesson has many commendable observations made about her. She is praised by her husband and honored by her children, but which of her attributes do you consider most praiseworthy?
Response: Having given time for responses, direct your students’ thoughts to verse 30, which indicates that the woman who “feareth the Lord” shall be praised. What does this phrase mean, and how will it influence a mother (or father) in how they handle family matters? See Psalm 111:10.
- To receive God’s blessing, who in the family is responsible for establishing the spiritual foundation of the family? How can this be done? See Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
Response: The parents are responsible for establishing the spiritual foundation of the family. In discussion of the second question, it should be noted that verse 5 makes it clear that the parents must have a definite spiritual experience with God. Once the Word is in their hearts they must diligently teach this to their children. Have a volunteer read a dictionary definition of the word diligent, and discuss how vital it is that the training of children be done in this manner.
- We are given this excellent example of a godly woman and how she occupied her time. Write briefly what you think the Lord might expect of a godly father. See Deuteronomy 4:9; Proverbs 13:24; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 10:25.
Response: Encourage your class to contribute their ideas concerning the attributes and responsibilities of a godly father. The Scriptures given should help them bring out that he is steadfast and faithful in the Lord’s work, he is careful not to provoke his children to wrath and is dutiful in teaching them, he is regular in church attendance, he disciplines his children, and provides for them. No doubt your class will be able to come up with numerous other thoughts.
- At what age does the Bible encourage us to seek the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12:1)? What are the advantages of following this advice? What are some things godly parents can do to encourage this?
Response: Your class should be able to list several advantages of seeking the Lord when a child. Further discussion should bring out that parents can encourage this through example, teaching, arrangement of family and personal priorities, etc.
- Having established spiritual guidelines for mothers and fathers, what are the two major instructions given in the Bible to children? See Exodus 20:12 and Colossians 3:20.
Response: Children are to honor their parents and to obey them. Ask your class at what age they think children can cease to obey. Help them see that Scripture instructs us to continue to be responsive to parental counsel. See Proverbs 23:22.
- In looking back over our last questions, we see that both parents and children have certain responsibilities toward God and each other. If each individual is fulfilling these, what effect does this have on the family as a whole?
Response: Your students will recognize that God’s blessings will be felt when the family is united in serving God. If you wish to develop this further, discuss specifically how this united family would feel God’s blessings in these aspects of their daily lives: meal time, recreational time, devotions, worship or church time, and work time.
- Consider next a family in which all the members are united, but this time they are united in their worldly interests and their lack of desire to serve God. What might we expect to see evidenced in that family?
Response: Your students will see, by the discussion resulting from this question, that unity alone is not the factor which brings about a positive family relationship. While they may be able to find non-Christian families who are seemingly happy, God’s blessings and harmony will only be found where family members are totally in accord spiritually!
THOUGHT PROVOKER: When each member of a family fulfills his responsibility as directed by God’s Word, that family can expect God’s blessing. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).
Have a mother give her testimony to the class or group.
Have students make a list of jobs that mothers do and put a price on each one. Then talk about the value and importance of mothers.
Have each student make a Mother’s Day card (you might want to begin this project a couple of weeks ahead). While they are busy making the cards, you can discuss with them why it is important to honor their mothers.
Bring a picture of a tree to class. Show how a family can be like a tree. Each member of the family is like a branch and each branch is important to the tree. Show that the roots and the trunk of the tree are important and that in order for the tree to stay alive, both the roots and the trunk must stay healthy. God provides for our families a strong foundation. If we read His Word and fulfill the responsibilities He gives us, He will bless us, and our families will grow spiritually.