Posted October 07, 2013
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
What is most praiseworthy in a woman? What did we learn from our parents? Our friends? What does culture tell us? The movies? Songs on the radio? Here, Proverbs 31:30 first teaches us what our praise shouldn’t be based on, and then tells us a single quality that should be praised:
Charm and beauty are secondary.
“That person is so charming...” “You look so beautiful!” When this passage tells us that charm is deceitful & beauty is vain, it’s hard to swallow. We are such an externally obsessed & motivated culture; we love and keep up with Hollywood stars because of their outer beauty! The tabloids tell us who’s gained weight; we are drawn to people because of how charming they are. This passage comes along and confronts all our preconceived notions of beauty and value!
Before we go too far, make sure to note that this passage is not saying that charm and beauty is wrong! A magnetic personality and an attractive body are not evil things. Rather, they’re to be subservient to the next quality we’ll look at. They are secondary qualities, not primary. It’s ok to be beautiful and charming; in their proper place they are good and healthy. However, often these qualities are viewed as an end unto itself (“If only I can look like (fill-in-the-blank)...”) and become gods. Others seek to use charm and beauty in sinful ways to gain or control something (power, influence, acceptance, etc.). In this case, they should be exposed for what they are. If the next quality that this proverb mentions is missing, charm and beauty are not seen in their correct and God-glorifying light.
Fear of the Lord is primary and praiseworthy.
While charm and beauty are secondary qualities, fear of the Lord should be primary. What is the fear of the Lord? When we fear the word “fear”, we often misconstrue it and think of it in negative terms. Scripture actually uses the word fear in a much different way! It’s a positive beautiful fear, one that has a healthy reverence, honor, humility, and awe of God. Often in our day and age we “like” God, but very few people fear God (in a biblical way). We might call Jesus our “homeboy”, but those who truly fear God call Jesus Lord.
Compare this quality to the foundation of a house. If you build your house on external beauty or charm, you’re asking for trouble. However, build your house on a fear of the Lord, and everything falls into its proper place. Proverbs 1:7 teaches us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...” This is not just for women, but for men and women! It’s to be the starting point and lens by which we see all else. Single men, look for women who truly fear the Lord; single women, look for men who boldly bear this quality. It’s this primary quality that gives purpose and meaning to the secondary ones and puts them in their proper place.
Song - Ariella Wilson, Brianna Gaither, Ali McIlroy
Production & Mix - Dustin Ragland
Artwork - Chris Wright