Proverbs 31:30-31 (NLT)
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
It is worth noting that these final 22 verses in the Book of Proverbs are an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. As Pastor John Piper notes, “This is helpful to know because it tips us off that the author is not building an argument like Paul does in Romans. Instead, he is stringing pearls. He has set himself the task, as he says in Proverbs 31:30, to praise the woman who fears the Lord. To do this he tries to think of 22 praiseworthy things to say about her.” And the final and brightest pearl on this strand? Fear of the Lord.
Americans spend a lot of money trying to make themselves attractive. According to one online study, the average beauty-conscious woman in America spends about $313 per month on her appearance…$3,756 per year…or $225,360 in her lifetime. The average image-conscious man doesn’t fare much better and will spend about $175,000 before they die. If we were all better students of Scripture, we would remember that while man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7) so a proper fear of the Lord makes one far more “beautiful” in the eyes of the Lord than any combination of hair and makeup ever could.
A woman’s charm is more of a presentation of her personality than a revelation of her heart…and the same goes for a man. Beauty, as most of us have learned, simply does not stand the test of time and chasing it is a fool’s errand. This is no excuse for poor personal standards, but it does point us to a higher plane of existence…and one that the Lord recognizes, blesses, and uses. Therefore, a woman – or a man – who walks in the path laid down by today’s passage will receive far more in return than any day at the spa or beauty treatment could ever offer.
If you have a godly man or woman in your life, especially if it’s your spouse, be sure to praise them accordingly…along with proper thanksgiving offered up to the Lord. The presence of this person is of far greater worth than public charm – which can be deceiving – or outward beauty which simply will not last. Besides, true beauty finds its roots in the gentle and contrite spirit that accurately reflects the eternal beauty of its Creator.