“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” Proverb 18:22
There are two words in this Scripture that today, in our modern society, tend to lend themselves to potential misuse. The words are “good” and “thing.”
This verse, then, seems to be a passage that needs some clarification. I have heard men express gratitude toward their wives in many areas, ranging from cooking to sex. But seldom, if ever, have I heard expressions of gratitude for her spiritually significant thoughts.
Without clarification, the words “good” and “thing” can be defined by whomever the reader happens to be, man or woman. And, too often, a woman’s frame of reference about what Scripture is saying is influenced by a man’s thinking.
It’s a shame when we men think the good which we would gain from a wife, that God is referring to, is that which will benefit our earth-bound, physical lives. Yes, the good can also benefit our physical lives, but I believe that God, being spiritual, intends that we would primarily derive mostly spiritual benefits from a wife.
Let’s do a word study to enhance our perspective, as we seek to understand this important verse.
Findeth (Hebrew: mâtsâ´, maw-tsaw´) to come forth, appear, exist, to attain, find, acquire, meet
Wife (Hebrew: ‘ishshâw, ish-shaw´) female, one together, wife, woman
Good (Hebrew: tôwb, tobe) good, better, best, in favor, fine
Thing (the word, thing, is not in the original language. It is added to give definition to the word, good.)
Obtaineth (Hebrew: pûwq, pook) to secure
Favor (Hebrew: râtsôwn, raw-tsone´) delight, favor, acceptable, good, pleasure
As we reflect on this creation we call woman, identified by God as Helper, it is important that we try to maintain God’s perspective as we reflect on this thing that will be for our “good”. That way we can derive the benefits that God intends.
Many of the physical tasks we face require two people. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that having a constant helper in our spiritual lives would also provide even more spiritual benefits? Unfortunately, most people do not consider that becoming spiritually mature requires two people in order to experience greater success.
It is typical for men to think independently. Even Scripture tells us we have a problem with our thinking. The Bible says, “Every man thinks he is right in his own eyes.” (Proverb 21:2) So, it is likely that a man’s unChrist-Likeness is not so apparent to him, even though it certainly is more noticeable to others.
This being the case, and considering the long-range and time-intensive investment necessary to accomplish the goal of Christ-Likeness in a man, how likely is it that anyone besides a wife would want to make that kind of time-intensive investment? Who, besides a wife, is willing to invest in a man’s personal, spiritual growth and run the risk of his reactions? Who, besides a wife, is willing to invest the kind of emotional stress that is inherent in helping a man (even if it is his own quest) in putting his flesh/sin nature to death, so that he might become more and more Christ-Like?
It seems that the person who is the most likely to make such a commitment is the same person who stands to benefit the most. That person has to be around that man enough that he eventually sets aside all of his pretenses, resulting in the real man being exposed — the hidden, unChrist-Like man. If a man’s genuine goal is to discover his flesh/sin nature, and put it to death in order to become more Christ-like, then it is indeed a blessing to have his own personal, ongoing revealer of his flesh, his soul’s enemy: which is his wife.
That is the kind of thinking that allows a man to understand God’s purpose when He wrote Proverb 18:22, paraphrased as follows:
He who, [because of God’s generous, loving foresight, made the attractions so strong that a man] would want to acquire a female to be one together with, attains [gains, is able to go, from good to better to] best, and he also is issued, [as furnished to him, has secured for him, as a part of God’s design for his life,] delight, favor, pleasure and goodness in the spiritual realm, as well as the physical realm.
Why? Because a husband has someone helping him to see his spiritual capacity to portray Christ (or not), so that he can attain that high calling in Christ Jesus. That man, becoming more and more like Christ, will be achieving a greater degree of spiritual maturity allowing him to care, as Christ would, for the spirits of all of those in his family for whom he is responsible.
That’s a whole lot of information coming from just eight words!
A man who acquires a woman as his wife will, as a natural by-product and if he will accept it, also acquire betterment for himself. This betterment is secured for him because it delights the Lord and gives the Lord great pleasure to favor a man in this way.
Now that is a good thing!
A prayer: God, it has always been Your plan to bless me. Help me to recognize more and more of Your ways and the blessings that accompany them. Let me recognize that every relationship, especially my relationship with my wife, is intended to bring blessings. Let me seek You and Your blessings in all that I do. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.