I heard of a queen, whose palace was set on a hill, and adorned with jewels. Though surrounded by much wealth, she was discontent and desired elaborate displays of her riches and the receipt of expensive gifts. It was the king’s job to satisfy her appetite. And this he did with much grandeur.
He always knew when he married her that that was how she longed to be loved. He was ready to give all to possess her, because she was beautiful to behold. With his affluence he had gained her heart. With his affluence, he gained the heart of many a woman, as he bought all he desired. And it was known that he had many concubines.
I also learnt of another queen, equal in beauty and majesty, who lives in a glorious palace. It is said of her that “her worth is far above rubies” (Prov 31:10) and that “the heart of her husband safely trusts her” (v11). Though royal, “she willingly works with her hands” (v13).
She is hailed abroad for her kindness, as she “provides food for her household and a portion for her servants” (v15). Even as “she extends her hand to the poor” (v20), she is still careful to ensure that “all her household is clothed with scarlet” ( v21), and “her clothing is fine linen and purple” (v22).
She is remarkably different from the other queen, (known as Vanity), and her husband knows the kind of woman that she is, “a virtuous woman” (v10). For this her many traits he loved her, knowing her heart doesn’t delight in riches nor vanity, “so he will have no lack of gain” (v11). Indeed, “she does him good…all the days of her life” (v12), and he too is a good husband to her.
He is proud to “sit among the elders of the land” (v23) and “praises her” (v28) often. Their children also “rise up and call her blessed” (v28). They all learn many things from her as “she opens her mouth with wisdom” (v26) and duly “watches over the ways of her household” (v27).
Still I hear of many queens in the land, and many princesses too, who desire to become queens. Most have envied Queen Vanity, and desired for a husband such as hers. They imagined that she was happy, because her days were full of leisure and she lacked nothing she wanted. Little did they know that she lived with a broken heart, and a fearful countenance…
Few princesses desire the lot of the virtuous woman. They do not understand why she labours needlessly and gives away so much wealth. But I understand her well, for she is my kin. We are of the same breed, the kind that “fears the Lord” (v30), whose clothing is “strength and honor” (v25). Wisdom has taught us that “charm is deceitful and beauty is passing” (v30), but our “own works” (v31) shall praise us.
There are times that I’ve forgotten the kind of queen that I am. In a world populated with wrong values, it is easy to be misguided by false standards. We might start to desire the treatment of Queen Vanity; to be wined and dined, taken on expensive trips and showered with gifts – and not fully appreciate the treatment from our king, who treats us accordingly to his understanding of our virtue. More than gifts, he praises us saying: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all” (v29).
What higher appreciation is there than to have a husband who thinks so highly of you, praises you, gives you liberty to pursue your passions, even supporting you as you minister to the needy, and is faithful to you? Why do we desire those who want to buy us, as though our worth is not above rubies…
In the dating field, Christian women seeking a man who fears the Lord, want to judge him by earthly standards: how much he spends on her and how desirous he is to get her in bed. When treated with the honour she deserves, she becomes restless and seeks one who will make her feel like Queen Vanity. And unfortunately, many find themselves in her elaborate palace, living with a broken heart and a fearful countenance.
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