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She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Proverbs 31:18 NIV
Does this woman ever sleep? First, we read that she gets up early , now we read that her lamp does not go out at night. Wait. What? That was my reaction to this verse. I can barely function on eight hours sleep, now Proverbs 31:18 tells us that she is up all night, too? Well, not so fast. In deeper study of this verse, we learn much more about this woman who is above rubies.
Let’s take a look at both parts to this verse:
She sees that her trading is profitable.
Many will point to this verse to indicate that the Proverbs 31 woman was an entrepreneur. We talked a bit about that in this post. While she may very well have been an entrepreneur, let’s look a little deeper to get at the meaning of this part of the verse. Many verses in the Bible uses allegories or stories to illustrate Biblical truths. Upon further study of this verse, I believe that this, indeed, is one of those illustrations.
In Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (note that this is from the King James Version), he writes:
“She perceiveth that her merchandise is good,…. That it turns to good account; that her trading to heaven is of great advantage; that she grows rich hereby; that her merchandise with Wisdom, or Christ, is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereby than fine gold; and though her voyages are attended with trouble and danger, yet are profitable, and therefore she is not discouraged, but determined to pursue them; she is like the merchant man, seeking goodly pearls, who finds a pearl of great price, worth all his trouble”
According to Gill, her merchandise is what she is doing with her time on earth in exchange for our riches we are promised in heaven!
Another exposition, Matthew Poole’s English Annotations of the Bible says “she finds great comfort and good success in her labours.”
Wheedon’s Commentary on the Bible explains it this way: ” Valuable, profitable, and highly appreciated, and this makes her all the more industrious; so that sometimes, at least, she works at it all night in order to supply the great demand for her goods.”
We are called to examine our lives and ensure that we are living in the faith striving to walk more like Him everyday. If you “examined” your merchandise, are you living a life pleasing to God? A life that you can find comfort in knowing that you are inheriting the riches of the Kingdom?
Let’s look at the second part of the verse.
and her lamp does not go out at night.
Another look at Gill’s Exposition and we find:
“…her candle goeth not out by night; her lamp of profession, which is always kept burning, or the glorious light of the Gospel, which always continues in the darkest times the church ever has been in; or her spiritual prosperity, which, though it may be damped, will never be extinct; when the candle of the wicked is often put out, Job 21:17; It may denote her diligence in working; who, as she rises early in the morning, Proverbs 31:15, so sits up late at night, and is never weary of well doing, night and day” (Gill’s Exposition).
Her candle goeth not out by night; which is not to be taken strictly, but only signifies her unwearied care and industry, which is oft expressed by labouring day and night, or continually.
So it seems that the candle or lamp illustrates that she is unwavering in her commitment to serving her family and God. She does work hard, often into the night, but it is the light of the plan of salvation that keeps her going.
We have hope that the living God is on the throne. It is through our overworked and overwhelmed days that we can press on. No matter how difficult the season of your life. No matter how many things on your to-do list. No matter how many spills that you’ve cleaned up or dishes you have done or laundry still to do, God is still in control. We have a promise in Him. We are called to be salt and light on this earth. How can we be the salt and light and if we are stressed, worried, frazzled and not keeping our eyes on the Father? When we cast our fears and doubt aside, we can live in the truth of His promises and share that truth with others.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
What can you do today to live a life pleasing to Him and to the promises we have in Him? What can you put into practice today to ensure that your lamp does not go out at night?
If you want to dig deeper, see this post on Gospel-led homemaking or check out my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife: A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.
Because of Him,