Proverbs 11: King James Bible
Grace and Strength – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter eleven, Verses 16-17
16 A gracious woman retaineth honor: and strong men retain riches. 17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
Daily Inspiration from These Verses – Grace and Strength
Notice the way the first verse above is worded. A gracious woman doesn’t achieve a place of honor. The word used is retain.
The definition of retain is to continue to have; keep possession of; not abolish, discard, or alter. This is interesting, because it assumes that the honor is already there, but a gracious woman retains this honor.
The definition of honor is to be held in high respect; esteem; regarded with great respect. According to this verse, it seems that the honor is already there, but is preserved through being gracious. That would also tell us that without graciousness, that honor is no longer retained, but may erode through time.
Which makes perfect sense, because if you take a look at what the opposite of being gracious is, you’d find it extraordinarily difficult to hold on to any honor at all.
Some of the antonyms of gracious that you could find would be aloof, cold, disagreeable, discourteous, disrespectful, hateful, impolite, incompatible, mean, rude, surly, uncivil, and unfriendly. See what I mean? Honor is fleeting when graciousness isn’t operative.
Then the verse goes on to speak about strong men, then uses that word again “retain.” To retain riches. I don’t believe that this use of the word strong, is much different than the word being used for woman, which is gracious. My reasoning is as follows…
To retain anything that is worth retaining, particularly things that are here today and gone tomorrow if dealt with foolishly, such as riches, honor, respect, a good name, etc., takes a lot more than the ability to bench-press double your body weight.
I believe that the word “strong” includes integrity, spiritual strength, right doing when it’s hard to do so, honesty in all your dealings, etc.. It’s not the physical strength that holds your life together, but is strength that can be found on every level.
All these things for men and for women, point to the ingredients of our character. Contemplating on verses such as the above, and holding the Word of God up to your own life, can be a revealing thing.
Related New Testament Scripture
Matthew 5: King James Bible
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Romans 4: King James Bible
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Romans 15: King James Bible
15 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Ephesians 6: King James Bible
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Thank you for your Word, and for your instruction given for our good. Please examine us Lord, and fill us where we may be empty, or found wanting in certain areas of our lives, that is a hindrance to the fullness of your plan for our lives. Correct our hearts; establish your goodness in our character, so that we may be all the more effective in your service. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Have you ever noticed, that living a lifestyle of grace and strength gathers the attention of others?