He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. [Proverbs 18:22]My church has been going through the book of Proverbs, and last Sunday touched on many of the verses dealing with marriage and finding the "perfect" spouse. This verse was cited, and while the sermon was, for the most part, aimed at those who were single or in the state of courtship, I was still able to do some meditating on this verse and my recent marriage.
In this verse, it is said that he who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. In the first section, two "finds" are stated: he who finds a wife (obviously in the context, a good one) will find a good thing. The "good thing" (the familiar Hebrew word tov) refers to something that is good, pleasurable, and fortunate, especially in the eyes of God. The parallel line then states that one who does such "receives what is pleasant" (in the original Hebrew) from the Lord - the noun for pleasant (ratson) refers here, contextually, to the pleasure one finds in all aspects of marriage. The verse is stating that the good wife, and all that is pleasant in the marriage with her, is a gift from God to the man.
Compare this verse with a "contrast" verse: "The mouth of a forbidden woman is a deep pit; he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it" (Pr 22:14). The NASB reads "he who is cursed," which is a more literal translation. The ESV is attempting to capture the passive participle associated with God, hence the NET's rendering of "the one against whom the LORD is angry." The point is that men who are inclined towards spiritual wickedness will be judged by God with the arrival of wicked women in their lives. Keep in mind that this proverb is not saying all women are evil or inherently evil, nor that the men are off the hook for their own sin. Both parties are guilty: the forbidden woman for her lifestyle, and the man with whom the Lord is angry for his love of such a lifestyle.
As I wrote in a previous post, I had, in the past, often pursued such "forbidden women." The blame for these endeavors is, of course, placed squarely on myself, and it was only by the intervention of God through His providence that I did not fall into the snare which was laid for me. Instead, God had a very different kind of woman in mind for me - He had a godly woman, who could support me emotionally as well as spiritually, and care for me with the heart of a caregiver. She was someone I could not only go to church with, but could grow with together and edify with what little skill the Lord has given me in being able to do so.
And now, as we are fast approaching two months of married life, I look back and realize that God's care and providence has truly shown His sanctifying love for me as His child, and I see that every time I see the love my wife has for me. God bless you, dear.