Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30 

Is There a Place for Praising People?

| Oct 7, 2013

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Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.—Proverbs 31:30

Evidently, the answer is yes, there is a place for praising people.

But such praise does not necessarily mean that mankind (or in this case, womankind) is ultimate. God is ultimate, and I believe this text teaches that. Why?

Not all women are to be praised, only a certain kind. It is fitting to praise a woman inasmuch as she fears the Lord. Thus, even such a woman is not ultimate. This kind of woman should welcome praise, for it is fitting. But she is only truly worthy of such praise when she continues to value God more than her own praise by fearing Him.

So, women (and men) are called to focus on internal beauty, not charming, external beauty (see also 1 Peter 3:3–6). There is great danger in a woman who has a magnetic personality and an attractive demeanor, but no fear of God.

Why do I say such a woman is dangerous? Because Solomon does in Proverbs 6:27–29, “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.” A woman who entices a man married to another woman is tragically dangerous. “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes” (Proverbs 6:25). Such women certainly have a kind of charm and beauty, but it deceives. It is mere vanity.

This passage calls us to fear the Lord and to put aside shallow charm and beauty. Though such beauty attracts attention for a time, it is not an attention worth having. It is not praiseworthy like God-fearing is praiseworthy. So, fear the Lord and praise others—especially women—who do so, ultimately for His sake, not theirs.

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