By : Jane Osoro
I am trying not to start this article with a cliché, but, here it goes. We have all heard of the proverbs 31 woman, this woman who stands as a standard to the character of a godly woman. This chapter is equally loved, hated and dreaded across the population. When you understand what it means and how to apply it then it is joyful and fulfilling. A point not to dread, but to trust God in, that He will help us live up to His standard for our lives, at every particular point.
Well today I will not be looking at, proverbs 31, rather at what I feel is its counterpart for men. When you scour the internet or listen to various speakers, Job 31 will not often stand out, but I feel that it presents the best picture of a man after God’s own heart and how this in turn reflects in his domestic and daily life as a whole.
This is not a shove in your face article for the men in our lives, but rather I hope it helps us look for, cultivate, and pray for these traits in them.
As Job is speaking, we remember that this is a lament, he is in this on going process of responding to his would be comforters, who are failing greatly. As much as it is a lament and a defence of his position, we still pick the things that are hallmarks of a man who honours God.
Verse one speaks of a man who recognising that adultery is a sin that so easily entangles, and the gateway to entertaining this sin, has made a covenant to live in purity. I am teaching a world literature class this semester and our project book is cry the Beloved country by Alan Paton. One of the many beautiful things in this book is a discipline reverend Khumalo has when things are really tough. He climbs a distant mountain and there spends a whole day in prayer. He makes that journey thrice, when his infant child is ailing, when his child is to be executed, and once when he was tempted to commit adultery. I admire that in him, knowing how grave the need to walk in purity is and doing what it takes for that to happen. Job revisits this idea in verse nine to twelve. He does not shy away from pointing out the gravity of this sin that so easily entangles men, and its grave consequences.
In Verse five and six Job paints the picture of a man who is deliberate to walk in truth and is honest in his dealings, not simply before men, but before God, for it is God Job uses as a reference point. He deals honestly with those around him as unto God and not merely for the applause of man.
In verse seven he alludes to the walk of faith. This is a man who has chosen to be guided by God rather than by the lust of his eyes. He can lift holy hands for he has not defiled his hands in any way.
Verse Thirteen introduces us to a just man. He deals justly with his workers, the poor and the widow around him, once more recognising that it is about God. God is a God of Justice and has called us to fight for those who are down trodden. I love verse 15 “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers”. How do the men in your life treat the people they work with, the street child who comes begging, the person he has power over in one way or another?
In verse seventeen we meet a generous man. And He did not wait to be an established millionaire, but “…from youth I reared them as a father would..” One of the things that made me know my husband was different when we met, was that he was living with and supporting his younger sister (understandable), his cousin (understandable), his house was a stopover and “halfway house” for numerous young men who needed a place to stay (generous heart for sure), and what amazed me the most, he was living with an orpahand boy. I always made fun of him that he was beginning his fatherhood with teenagers, he is definitely a patient man. And he was most definetly not rich, but God saw to it that they never lacked food or a roof over their head during that time. But how rare it is today to find men who open their homes to those in need, regardless of their family ties.
Verses nineteen to thirty revisit generosity and justice and the fear of God underlying both.
Verse twenty-four to twenty-nine, address another sin that can so easily entice men, riches. It could be status, wealth and possessions. Job says these are not his security. May we pray that the men in our lives, will see, know and have rest in God as their security. That they will be content, in plenty and in scarcity, and know that God is their all in all, their more than enough.
The man in verse thirty to thirty-one, has learned to love and bless their enemy, even when their enemy has fallen into trouble, they have not gained satisfaction from it and wished worse for them. But rather blessed their enemy as proverbs has encouraged him to do.
Verse thirty-two talks of the hospitable man. His door is open to friends and strangers alike, and each is served the very best Job can afford, regardless of their status in life.
Verse thirty-three to thirty-seven, talks of an honest man, who is not seeking to hide his wrong doing from God or man. But repents and owns up to the consequences. This is definitely not a man who would bribe his way out of situations, or try to cover up his missteps for the sake of his position.
Verse thirty-eight to forty talks of his work ethic. His labour is fruitful for he is a conscientious worker. He has balance in work and rest. He pays his workers and suppliers on time, and he provides what is needed for the job to be done in the right way and on time. He is faithful at his work as unto the Lord.
What a world this would be, to have men, young and old, toddlers to great grand fathers, who have these as their guiding principles. So let us pray that these would be true in the dearest and nearest of men to us. Mothers build these up in your sons as soon as possible. He does not need to know how to talk to be taught discipline and generosity. Speak frankly to your preteen sons on not looking lustily on a woman, and remind them constantly through out their lives, about this virtue and all the above mentioned. Because when we go back to proverbs 31, they were guidance to a son from a mother on seeking a Godly woman. May our men be found worthy of the Proverbs 31 woman and above all by God.
This is not the end but merely the beginning of the discussion, let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below, even as we seek to practically apply these in our lives.
Much love and blessings to you always.