Proverbs 31 for July 31. Proverbs 31 is famous for its second two-thirds dedicated to the characteristics of a “wife of noble character who can find?” Does she shed light on God as our first priority? Starting at the top of the chapter, the mother of King Lemuel (lemu-el i.e. the one devoted to God) gives advise to her son. Avoid loose women, alcohol, and ignoring those who have no voice is her sage advice to her son. Then comes the description of the good wife or godly woman, focusing on her actions and her fortitude of heart in the face of adversity. Many love the closing verse 30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and et her works bring her praise at the city gate.” For many, these are comforting words to know our eternal value is not in our youth, our beauty, our intelligence nor wealth. The fear of the Lord, making God our first priority, results in praise. Since we are gender conscious today, I would add that this is not just for women. Fear of the Lord is spoken of generally through out the Bible for men and women, for all. Perhaps the question of what this means is the real issue. I again come to the conclusion that prioritizing God is lived out in the arena of daily decisions. Our lady rises early to go to the market to feed her family. She makes clothes for them with her hands. She serves, invests, trades and is resourceful. She is one busy person but always it is serving those she cares for and not self. We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves and so I do not think our woman sees herself as useless but realizes her importance in the lives of others. So we come round circle to the beginning of the chapter. Prioritizing God is not being flirtatious and deceptive. It is not idling our time and energy in revelry. It is not closing our eyes to the needs of others. But neither is it being great and pompous. Serving those God puts in our path today and using the talents He has given us in the arena before us is prioritizing God. He is faithful and will use our humble offerings. Blessings.