The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Shortly after our daughter was born my wife Tony quit her job at a local lumber company where she oversaw the distribution of the payroll. Ever since that time Tony has not worked outside of the home, but she has definitely worked. Each year when I fill out our tax forms and it asks for the occupation of my spouse I put “Homemaker.” Besides this being a general title given to women that do not work outside the home, it is also a scripturally correct identification.
The scripture above states, “The wise woman builds her house.” Certainly this scripture is not speaking about a woman physically constructing the building in which she and her family dwell. A woman does not have to be a building contractor to be wise. Building one’s house goes far beyond anything that can be accomplished with a hammer and nails and saw.
We have already seen that the scriptures declare that a woman was created for man, and that she is intended to be man’s helper. This is a critical matter to keep in mind as a woman seeks to build her house. A woman will find her greatest fulfillment in accomplishing that purpose for which God created her. This does not mean that all women must get married, but whether they are married or unmarried they will benefit greatly by understanding the purpose of woman’s creation and the order of authority and government established by God.
In the last chapter we saw that women can produce life and godliness in the lives of their men as they surrender their tongues to be used of God. A woman can elicit from her husband, or other male figure, a desire to rise up to higher realms, to pursue godliness, to avoid evil, to put away anger, to be conformed to the image of Christ whose image he was originally created to bear. She does this as she affirms man and speaks godly words of encouragement, faith and hope to him.
One of the woman’s chief tools in building her house is her tongue and it should be governed by love. The foundation of any home must be love, for love must be the motivator of every action. If our words and deeds are not arising out of love, then they must be finding their source in some other, inferior motive such as selfishness, bitterness, anger, envy, malice, etc.. The very height of love is laying down one’s life for the good of another. Yahshua stated, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
In the previous chapters we spoke much of taking up the cross, of losing one’s life. At its very essence, such an action is a demonstration of love. To deny yourself in order to obey Christ is an act of love. Yahshua said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
What we have spoken of thus far is very difficult, yet we will be led to perform extreme and sacrificial actions that love may not be denied. If a woman has not embraced the cross and a death to self as has been described, it could be asked of her whether she has truly ever loved. There are many who confess their love and devotion, but when a choice arises that requires dying to their soul life, many choose to keep their life rather than lose it. This is not love, it is self-interest and self-protection.
It is common to think of love as some sort of infatuation with another being, and there is some truth to this. There is a romantic love of the sort that we see described in the Song of Songs. Yet this romantic love would be hollow and false if it was not wedded to the love we have described that will lay down its own life for a friend. Even Yahshua’s love would have been lacking if He told His disciples that He loved them, but then He had refused to go the way of the cross.
A home must be built upon this type of unselfish love. Each member must seek the welfare of the others above their own welfare. A wife must lay down her own desires, agenda, and goals, to seek to help her husband fulfill the call upon his life. Some have depicted a woman who loves in this way as simply being a doormat for her husband’s feet, but this is simply pride speaking, and true love is absent in those who hold to this view. Pride does not want to subject itself to the will of another. Pride wants to seek its own personal fulfillment.
In the last chapter we saw how Abigail turned the heart of David with her wisdom and humility. If we had read a little further we would have seen that she also chose to lay down her life and live her life for another.
I Samuel 25:40-42
When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you to take you as his wife.” She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
There are many women today who would describe Abigail’s attitude in a very unflattering way, yet she was demonstrating great godliness. In her comment, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants” she was expressing the height of love. She was proclaiming that she would lay down her own soul life with its ambitions and desires that she might seek the welfare and benefit of others. It is questionable whether she spent much time actually washing people’s feet, for she had five maidens of her own to attend to her, and later she lived as the wife of the king in the king’s palace. She was expressing her heart attitude, however. She was not entering into a marriage relationship with David to get out of it what she could. Instead she was seeking to give of herself.
Yahshua demonstrated that this should be our attitude when He washed His disciples’ feet. He also demonstrated it when He went to the cross, laying down His life for others. All that we have looked at in this matter of taking up the cross is a demonstration of love. This must be the foundation upon which a home is built. The woman should demonstrate this love if she wants her house to rest on a sure foundation. The scriptures speak of love as being a foundational matter. In Ephesians 3:17, Paul prays that the saints might be “rooted and grounded in love.” To be rooted and grounded are both foundational matters.
Walking in such love should be the first priority of a wise woman who seeks to build her house. Secondly, a wise woman will seek to restore the proper governmental order in her home. If love is the foundation of a home, then government is the framework on which the building rises. It is what supplies order and structure, and it provides safety and security to those who allow their lives to be governed by it.
Speaking negatively, we are told that a foolish woman will tear down her home with her own hands. She does this first by not taking up the cross and denying self. She does it by insisting on her own way and demanding that she be able to live her own life. Secondly, a foolish woman tears down her house by seeking to overturn the governmental order of Yahweh. This will destroy a home as surely as if she went out and began removing the supporting beams that hold up the framework of her house.
However, this book is written for the godly woman who seeks to be a homemaker, not a home destroyer. A godly woman will seek to affirm her husband’s or father’s role and calling in order that her entire household might be afforded protection, comfort, and peace. She seeks to instill in her children an appropriate reverence and respect for the delegated authorities of Yahweh. She seeks to bring honor into her home.
Have you noticed how absent honor is from homes today? It seems that honor is viewed as being as archaic and as outdated as the concept of a wife calling her husband ‘lord.’ I see great dishonor in families today. Even in Christian homes I have observed children cursing their parents, yelling at them, pushing them, and treating them with great contempt. I have seen sons and daughters willfully disobeying their mother and father, often with the parents trying to placate the anger of their children by giving in to the child’s tantrum. I have seen wives publicly correcting their husbands and reproving them without any shame. I have heard adult saints boasting about harshly reproving their elderly parents for some decision or action.
In all of this the honor that is due those who are to be honored is missing. Paul instructed the church in this way.
Romans 13:1-2, 7
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves… Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
The civil governments of this world would fall into anarchy if there were no honor given to the authority they wield. Similarly, in the home chaos ensues when honor is lacking. A wise woman builds her home by instilling within it a sense of honor.
It is all too common today for a woman to speak criticisms of her husband publicly. It is also very common to hear a wife making her husband the butt of a joke, or of some jest. I have sat in a home church group and listened as the wife of a pastor mimicked how her husband would whine and cajole and urge her to obey him in some manner. This woman thought it was some type of sport to poke fun at her husband and to embarrass him publicly. It was no coincidence that I observed this same woman speaking harshly, and in a condemning manner, to her mother in the presence of others.
There is an appalling lack of honor among the saints today, on the job, in their homes, in relation to the civil governments, in the churches, and in every realm of authority which Yahweh has established. But perhaps nowhere is the damage seen as clearly as in the home. A wise woman will build her home by doing everything she can to ensure that honor is present.
Restoring honor, first and foremost, must begin with the woman’s own relationship to her husband or father. The following scriptures depict what the manner of the godly woman should be.
I Peter 3:1-6
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands… Your adornment must not be merely external… but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior… so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
In the society we live in such instructions seem preposterous. In a society that lampoons its presidents and government officials, in a society that places buffoonish caricatures of government leaders on the editorial pages of its newspapers, in a society where the patriarchal family is viewed as antiquated and backward, these instructions to the women of the Christian church are largely viewed with scorn and rejection. Yet there are godly women who desire to be all that the Creator made them to be. They desire to find in their own being a conformity to the revealed word of God.
How very much is revealed in this one command, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord.” How are the saints to be subject to the Lord? They are to obey without complaining. They are to show reverence and godly fear. They are to lay down their own lives that they might fulfill the desire of the Lord. They are to always honor Him with the words of their mouth.
We have looked at one circumstance in which wives are not to obey, and that is when they are commanded to sin. In every other instance they are to follow the principle of, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord.” This is the revealed will of Yahweh, for man is the head of woman even as Christ is the head of man.
Can you imagine how households would be transformed as women began to practice these things? Quite often children are encouraged to rebel simply because they see a rebellious attitude in their mother as she relates to her husband or other men. How awesome and transforming it would be for the children to see their mother remain chaste and respectful even when her husband is disobedient to the word of God. The children would see demonstrated before them the principle that rebellion is never justified, and honor is always required.
Often children are loud, self-willed and rebellious because they have observed their mother or father also being self-willed. They have observed that their mother has her own life and is very assertive in her independence. They have not seen in her a gentle, quiet and submissive spirit. Therefore the children also lack these same things.
We often see in movies or on television the stereotype of a meek man who is wed to a strong and assertive woman. She may be disappointed that her husband does not take a firm stand in some matter. She may consider him to be too lenient with a repairman or salesperson. She may nag her husband to be more forceful and assertive, or she may simply take things into her own hands and assert herself with strong words and forceful actions as she deals with the repairman, the salesperson, the neighbor, the friend, the mother-in-law, etc.. Yet every time a woman resorts to this type of behavior she dishonors her husband and she promotes a spirit of dishonor in her family.
If you are dealing with rebellion among your children, ask yourself if you have been perfect in submitting to your husband as to the Lord. Have you reverenced him by being content with his judgment or actions in some matter, or have you usurped his authority by taking things into your own hands to make sure things are done to your satisfaction? Our actions and attitudes bear fruit in the lives of others. My own bride was led to begin practicing headcovering when the Spirit spoke to her through the rebellion and disobedience of our son.
I have taught and written about the matter of headcovering, and from the beginning of our marriage relationship I told my wife that headcovering was something I desired for her to practice. I did not hound my wife about the issue, but she understood my desire in the matter. One day as Tony was dealing with our son and he was not obeying in a prompt manner, she became angered by his recalcitrant attitude.
As she was considering what her next response should be to our son, the Spirit spoke to Tony and reminded her of her own hesitation to obey in the matter of headcovering. The Spirit so convicted Tony about her own reluctance to obey, and He revealed to her how this behavior was mirrored in our son, that she began covering from that time forward. The awesome thing is that even as our disobedience bears results in the lives of others, so too does our obedience. The godly example of one person has often persuaded many others to a walk of godliness.
As a woman demonstrates honor toward her husband or father, others will take note. A climate is set that encourages a response of honor from others. This is just a beginning, however. There is much that has been lost that must be restored in this day and hour. Never has the honor in the home been at a lower ebb. The tide has gone far out and it must return.
A woman can instill a sense of honor in her home through her speech. We are told that Sarah called Abraham ‘lord.’ In this way she honored her husband. It is a telling example of how far we have fallen that this sounds absurd to most women today. How does it make you feel? Would you feel silly or ashamed calling your husband ‘lord’? Why does it sound so abnormal?
We cannot say that using the title ‘lord’ is what sounds strange, for the church predominantly uses this title when speaking of both Yahweh and Yahshua. What strikes us as awkward and inappropriate is addressing man by this title.
Satan has done such a complete work of replacing honor with disrespect, and submission with independence that the word ‘lord’ when applied to man sounds wrong to our ears. But if the whole world is saying one thing and Yahweh says something else, we must agree with Yahweh. Sarah called Abraham lord and she is lifted up as an example of a godly woman for other godly women to emulate.
By your own speech, do you create an atmosphere of honor toward your husband or father that is noticeable to others? In the introduction to this book we spoke of how godly women are appearing as beacons of light in a darkened world. We spoke of how a woman dressing modestly and practicing headcovering attracts the attention of others. In the same way, the very speech of a godly woman should stand out in a darkened society. It should be so noticeable as to turn heads.
In this day of rebellion and dishonor, the wife or daughter that demonstrates submission and reverence in their speech will stand out as a bright, flashing, neon sign. Is your speech attracting such attention? Do those who observe your conversation note that you are not speaking in the same manner as the ungodly society that you live in? They should. It should be visible to all. It should be especially visible in your own home, and if you have children it should be very visible to them.
A wise woman will build her house, but a foolish woman will tear it down by exhibiting dishonor in her attitudes and speech. The tongue has such power in it. There is a tendency to not be careful about our words. If we are engaged in conversation a lot there is great room for error. Have you ever visited a home where the wife dominated the conversation? There is a tremendous danger in being too talkative. I have never seen a person yet who was known for their talkative nature who did not frequently say things that were better left unsaid.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
During the Passover season one year I was looking at a cross that was lying on the floor of a church in front of the pulpit when the Spirit began speaking to me. He began revealing to me what it meant to be crucified with Christ and conformed to His image. I was reminded of Yahshua’s words:
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
In several places in the Gospel of John Yahshua is recorded as saying that He did not speak a word of His own initiative, but He only spoke the words the Father gave Him to speak. The Spirit began ministering to me that this was the calling for each one of the elect and chosen of God.
As I looked at the cross I was somewhat incredulous that such a high calling could actually be attained. Could I actually come to the place where all of my words were Yahweh’s words, where I did not speak a word of my own initiative? The Spirit confirmed to me that this was my calling. He reminded me that the expressed desire of the Father is to conform His children to the image of Christ. Christ never spoke a word of His own initiative, and this is the Christ to whose image we are all being conformed.
For this reason we should let our words be few. As I looked at the cross I prayed that the Father would teach me to set a guard over my mouth. I also considered how much more powerful my speech would be in its effect if it was not a mixture of Spirit and flesh, but if it was Spirit only. How profound would be the effect upon others.
Often our witness and testimony is greatly diminished because we exhibit such a corrupt mixture in our speech. I sat and listened to a couple speak of the necessity of holiness in the lives of the saints one day. They shared scriptures that the Spirit was bringing to them and what they shared was quite profound, yet less than a half hour later the conversation had degenerated into coarse jesting, sexual innuendo, and foolish speech. James asks the questions:
From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Even as the Spirit challenged me to elevate my goals and to desire to become perfect in speech, the same challenge awaits every woman who aspires to godliness. What does godliness imply? It implies being like God, and we have Yahshua’s own confession that He never spoke a word of His own initiative, but He spoke just the words the Father commanded Him to speak. How much less speech there would be in the world if we all practiced this same obedience?
My wife read a book where the woman author spoke of her efforts to be more godly in her speech. She began trying to avoid unnecessary and frivolous conversation. She would get up in the morning and enter into communion with God before she spoke to anyone else. She would also set her answering machine on her phone to answer all calls, and she chose to return calls at certain times of day when she knew people would be less likely to want to ramble in conversation. She would call people back when they were preparing dinner, for example, for she knew that there would be less of a tendency for the person to try to engage her in a lengthy conversation. She knew the truth of the scripture that states “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
When you bring this area of your life into conformity to the will of God you will see that people begin to perceive you differently. People will place a higher value upon your counsel and your words. People will sense a greater conviction when they hear the truth spoken from your lips. You will stand out from the crowd of careless talkers. In Proverbs we are told that “even a fool appears wise when he does not open his mouth.”
Are you known to others as a person who is talkative? Do you find yourself speaking all day long, jumping from one issue and topic to another? Often I have found that the most talkative people are oblivious to how others perceive them. It is those who restrain their speech that are accounted as wise. The foolish person will let everything inside come forth as a gusher of words. There is no guard over their lips.
For a woman to build her house she must be wise in her choice of words. One careless remark can undo months, or even years, of prudent speech. It does not take much leaven to thoroughly leaven a lump of dough. It does not take but a little saltwater to spoil a fresh water source.
When one sets out to instill honor in their home they must be consistent in their speech. They should not demonstrate a submissive and humble spirit one day, and rebellion and pride the next. You do not want your house built with some good lumber and some rotten.
The tongue is the chief tool of a wise woman who will build her house. Like a hammer, it is skillfully used when it is applied to what needs nailing, and it is likewise skillfully used when you don’t use it to strike that which should not be struck. Many are the women who are going around knocking holes in the walls of their home. They have not yet learned the power of restraining their speech.
In order to build honor into your home you must choose carefully your words. You must begin the practice of setting a guard over your lips. If you are in the habit of letting everything inside come out freely, then when you are in a moment of anger or fear you will find it difficult to hold back words that you will later regret. However, if you have already learned the discipline of the tongue then such moments will not catch you unprepared.
If this is an area that you experience difficulty in, then ask Yahweh to teach you obedience in it. Ask Him to instruct you in how to set a guard over your lips. Ask Him to make your lips a fountain of love and honor. Then you will truly find that you are a homemaker, building something that will withstand all the assaults of life.
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