Proverbs 31 is the quintessential description of a wise, virtuous woman. She’s God-fearing and lives her life with purpose, diligence, and grace.
But there’s another woman in Proverbs who doesn’t get quite as much attention. She’s found in chapter seven.
In contrast to the Proverbs 31 woman, the Proverbs 7 woman is the prototypical “wild thing.” She’s rowdy and has lost her moorings, deciding she’s going to make her own decisions about how to live her life, about her sexuality, and about how to interact with men.
Sadly, she’s taken her cues from culture instead of God’s Word. But the Proverbs 7 woman is also religious, just like the Proverbs 31 woman. In fact, according to the text, she is religious and married.
Two women. Similar religious backgrounds and home lives. But the influences to which each opened their hearts and minds were quite different.
So was the fruit of character that grew out of their lives.
The distinction between these two women isn’t just a metaphor. Radically disparate views about femininity and sexuality are a problem that affects the lives of women even today.
We like to think we’re so much more enlightened than past generations and have risen above archaic ideas that shackled people living at the time that Scripture was written. But passages like these show the divine origins of the Bible. The principles presented to us about femininity and sexuality are as relevant now as ever.
Like the Proverbs 7 woman, women today are inundated with deceptive messages that strike at the core of their identity.
That’s why Proverbs 7 is a cautionary tale: when you either don’t understand or choose to reject God’s Word about who you are designed to be, you’ll search for the answers wherever – and from whomever – you can find them.
You’re especially at risk of drifting in the wrong direction if your marriage isn’t going so well. You and your husband may be locked in conflict. Or maybe the two of you feel miles apart even when you’re sleeping right next to each other. Maybe your struggle has grown so deep you’ve contemplated looking outside your marriage for answers that soothe you and fill up the emptiness inside.
Maybe you’ve already taken that step.
Wherever – or from whomever – you’ve sought for answers to your uncertainty, one thing you can know for sure: those temporary fixes will only deepen the emptiness you feel.
Apart from the rich and meaningful understanding of sexuality that only comes from Scripture and the Christian worldview, women will struggle in vain to find contentment and happiness in their identity as a woman. Viewing pornography, illicit relationships, and the misuse of her sexuality will leave the rose of a woman’s heart withered and lifeless.
But there is hope. The contrast between Proverbs 7 and 31 is meant, in part, to show that the deep-seated answers women are searching for are found in God’s Word.
Women need a vision for their inner and outer beauty and the glory of who God created them to be. Your essence as a woman – an expression of the image of God, including your relationship with your husband if you’re married – is meant to reflect the cosmic love story God is telling.
That’s more than lofty rhetoric. It has deep implications for the way women live their lives and the quality of the lives they lead.
To discuss this important topic more fully, we’ve invited Mary Kassian to our studio. She’s an author, blogger, popular conference speaker, and a distinguished professor of women’s studies at Southern Baptist Seminary.
In today’s broadcast, part two of “God’s Grace for Wild Women,” Mary will help us grapple with how our culture has confused authentic femininity and beauty with an aggressive form of sexuality, how that is stripping women of a healthy understanding of their own identity, and the steep price women are paying.
But we’ll also uncover the grace God has for a woman who is developing her identity or who needs hope that it can be restored.