The Wise Woman
In the Bible, wise people are those who seek God's will and practice it in the best way possible. The wise woman seeks God's will for her life and lives accordingly. Let's take a quick look at what God is telling women in this passage.
A Spectrum of Wisdom
Since the Creator wrote the Bible, the Scriptures have unique insight into the creation. The word of God deals in a unique way with all aspects of the human psyche and recognizes the spectrums that exist within humanity. There are many things a woman can focus on with her life, and many of the women who make differing choices are wise. The wisest of these women will choose to concentrate on building their houses.
It's important to stress that we aren't talking about the only possible option, but we are talking about the wisest and best choice. This verse highlights the pathway that brings the most glory to God. As people who love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Deuteronomy 6:4), we should set our hearts to finding wisdom and the best way to serve God.
Building Her House
The jobs of wife and mother are leadership roles in a family. We cannot forget that. Paul wrote that women were to be household managers in 1 Timothy 5.14. The last time I checked, managers were leaders.
1 Timothy 5:14 and Titus 2:4, which says that women should be "working at home", show us the wisest thing a woman could be doing: working diligently to build her house. Managing the home and building the house is a full-time occupation. That's why the wisest woman focuses on that job. She is uniquely qualified for it, and it fulfills a vital role that God has planned for families.
Building and managing a family are important. The man's role is to provide financially for the family; that's his chief occupation. He can and certainly should help around the house, but his principal occupation lays outside of day-to-day management activities in the home. Likewise, a woman's primary role is to take care of household management. She can certainly do other things from time to time, but every moment she spends focused away from her family takes her away from her central duty.
The woman's chief duty is to build and manage her house. Obviously, we're not talking about a physical structure. A woman will be the primary caregiver for young children. She will need to plan meals, manage finances, make purchases, and a whole host of activities associated with running and maintaining a family.
Our Culture Hates God's Order
Our culture hates this, and it has done an excellent job of training Christians to hate it, too. I have heard women argue with what the word of God plainly teaches. Instead of embracing the teachings of the Scriptures, I've heard people come up with all sorts of excuses for not applying them. Some even ridicule them as outdated or misogynistic.
There certainly may be times when a woman needs to divert her attention from her primary duty. Ultimately, there's no such thing as "women's work"; there's just work and, no matter who does it, it needs to be done. However, generally speaking, it is worldliness and earthly desires that draw women away from their God-given role.
We have to fight against the world's influence and trust the leadership of God. God's commandments are for our good always (Deuteronomy 6:24), and he knows what is best for us. We should, by default, trust the instruction God gives us more than the world's direction.
God Designed Women for a Specific Role
No one in their right mind would argue a woman is unable to do other things on a professional level. Some women lead fortune 500 companies, and some countries have women as their heads of state. Obviously, they can do the job.
We're not talking about ability but possibility. The greatest possible work a woman can do is what God designed for her. She is uniquely qualified to be a caregiver, a helper, and a nurturer. It is the differences between men and women that show the fullness of God's character and nature.
God designed a woman to manage and work at home. How a woman fulfills her role may look different depending on one's culture, but the basic principles are universally the same. In recent years, our culture and society have downplayed the importance of this role, but it's the most influential and greatest work a woman can do. We are foolish if we ignore or forget that.
Tearing Down Her Family
It is foolish to reject the wisdom of God, and it is certainly foolish to fight against what God has ordained. If it is wise for a woman to build her family, then it's folly to tear it down. Since we're not talking about buildings, what does this mean?
First, merely rejecting the roles that God created begins to destroy the family. If a woman patently objects to being a worker at home or managing her house, then she is actively working against the wisdom of God. Even passive objections (making excuses why God's word doesn't apply to my situation) is actively fighting against God. We have to be careful that we're honest with ourselves. If we begin our obedience by looking for exceptions, then we probably don't want to obey.
It takes dedicated effort and forethought to build a family well and maintain it. Working against the roles God created is like demolishing a building. If we aren't putting our full efforts into that endeavor, then we are working, actively or passively, at tearing it down. A building will just as certainly fall from neglect as it will from active demolition.
Second, if a woman rejects her role, it forces others in the family to compensate. This divided attention makes everyone less efficient. Maybe if we think about this in corporate terms, we could see things more clearly. A CEO typically has a clerk helping to set appointments, keeping track of critical documents, and sometimes even answering email. Why? The CEO would harm their overall effectiveness by doing everything required to run the company by themselves. It's not about ability; it's about possibility. The CEO only achieves their greatest potential with help from others; the clerk provides a vital function and fills an important role. The company is better overall when everyone does their own job well. The same idea is true with families.
God created different roles because that's the best way to run and operate a family. When we change these roles, we throw everything into disarray and destroy the efficiency and effectiveness of the household. While companies work for physical profit, families are run to produce spiritual fruit. When we alter God's design for the family, we make it harder to serve God well, to grow spiritually, and to make children into disciples.
There is much more we can say about this topic. The simple conclusion is this: wisdom seeks to find and fulfill the roles God created for us. Let's be people who strive to find the roles for which God designed us and then work to perform them well with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12.30).