Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.
(Proverbs 11:22, English Standard Version)
“Well…I never!” she replied to the King.
Reading this proverb, it seems highly probable to me, given the stories of King Solomon and all the women in his life (1 Kings 11:3), that this was probably a proverb born from experience. He comes along a beautiful woman, of high social standing, of influence and power; but in his interactions with her, he begins to see her true self shining through all her external adornments. She has no discretion—she is a woman of loose and dissolute conversation, her mind and conscience are defiled. There’s a beauty for the eye, but the corruption of her character slowly transforms how Solomon sees her, and no amount of jewelry will cover that up.
So he mutters, maybe a bit under his breath, “For all that beauty, it’s like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.”
Hence, her response.
So how does this play out in your day today? (think carefully here men….)
Remember, these individual sayings of wisdom are here to help us dig deep into our living. To roll them around in our minds for awhile, prayerfully considering them, asking God to reveal the truth he wants us to see in something so succinctly stated.
Maybe this can get us started. Here’s what struck me.
The right response to having wallowed in the mud of unrighteousness and becoming corrupt is not to try and add a dash of put-on good behavior, as if that somehow changes the truth of who we really are. All you’ll end up looking like is a bejeweled swine. A pig is still a pig.
True beauty, and loveliness, only comes about from a changed heart. It happens by humbling ourselves before God and asking him to clean us and beautify us from the inside out. Then we actually will be transformed, from one degree of glory to the next, as we set our eyes on Christ. We will be a new creation, in every way.
I wonder if the Apostle Peter was remembering Solomon’s wisdom when he wrote this to the women of the church:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
(1 Peter 3:3-4, English Standard Version)
While written to the ladies, I think there’s an implication for all of us here. Namely, don’t let your adorning be external, but internal. If you want to put upon yourself imperishable beauty, that not only God can see as precious but all can behold and appreciate, cultivate the hidden person of the heart.
Then, feel free to put on the bling and dress to the nines.
Even after you’ve cleaned us up with the gospel and washed us with the water of the Word, we are prone to wander and wallow in all kinds of mud holes of sin. Make us wise. Help us to see that we can’t hide such things. The jewels of good works and good behavior will not provide the beauty we seek. We need you to cleanse our hearts, so that we can be fully, truly, clean and transformed. Adorn us with the gospel today, Father, by the cleansing force of your Holy Spirit.
Yes, and very amen, in Jesus’ name.
Pursuing the wise and good life with you,
P.S. If you’d like to study some of the wisdom literature further, I highly recommend the Wisdom Series from The Bible Project, and their resources on the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs Thirty-One Day Reading Plan
August 14: Proverbs ch. 1
Aug. 15: ch. 2
Aug. 16: ch. 3
Aug. 17: ch. 4
Aug. 18: ch. 5
Aug. 19: Grace Day
Aug. 20: ch. 6
Aug. 21: ch. 7
Aug. 22: ch. 8
Aug. 23: ch. 9
Aug. 24: ch. 10
Aug. 25: ch. 11
Aug. 26: Grace Day
Aug. 27: ch. 12
Aug. 28: ch. 13
Aug. 29: ch. 14
Aug. 30: ch. 15
Aug. 31: ch. 16
Sept. 1: ch. 17
Sept. 2: Grace Day
Sept. 3: ch. 18
Sept. 4: ch. 19
Sept. 5: ch. 20
Sept. 6: ch. 21
Sept. 7: ch. 22
Sept. 8: ch. 23
Sept. 9: Grace Day
Sept. 10: ch. 24
Sept. 11: ch. 25
Sept. 12: ch. 26
Sept. 13: ch. 27
Sept. 14: ch. 28
Sept. 15: ch. 29
Sept. 16: Grace Day
Sept. 17: ch. 30
Sept. 18: ch. 31
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