Proverbs 31:1-3

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by: FCC Staff

10/04/2021

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Proverbs 31:1-3 “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.”

 

It is interesting that there is no other record of a “King Lemuel” except for here at the very end of the book of Proverbs. The last chapter. We don’t know much about him except that his name means “devoted to God” or “for God.” We know he is a king and that he has a wise mother, and either he or his mother wrote some poetry. There are a number of theories as to who he is. One in particular that seems to be of popular opinion among some commentators and theologians down through the ages is that he is in fact King Solomon himself possibly using a name his mother may have used for him as many mothers have pet names for their children. Who knows, maybe she would whisper quietly, “Lemuel, my child, son of my vows, devoted to God.” As even Solomon’s actual name given at birth, “Jedidiah” means “beloved of the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:25). And of course, he goes by another name entirely throughout the book of Ecclesiastes i.e., Qoheleth, “Preacher.”  The words attributed to the mother as quoted by “King Lemuel” are in keeping with Solomon’s advice to not only “hear” or “keep” your father’s commandments but also to “not forsake your mothers teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8, 6:20) But being at the end of the Proverbs and maybe even towards the end of Solomon’s life, we know he did not listen to his mother’s advice so her words are exclaiming, “what are you doing!?!”

 

King Solomon is known to have married women for political reasons. He married women outside the faith and built alters for them so they could worship their own gods in Israel! Of his one thousand wives and concubines, he had agendas besides his love for God, Israel or even of them. God was honoring his promise to David in keeping the kingdom of Israel together under Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-12). Immediately after Solomon’s death the kingdom ripped apart and Israel and Judah separated and have never been reconciled to this very day.

 

Children can sense when a marriage isn’t working. Even before a couple gets married, parents, friends or counselors can often spot when a relationship isn’t right and a marriage probably shouldn’t go forward. But by the time a couple has dated to the point that they’re thinking marriage, most of the time it’s too late. Wise counsel will be viewed as interference, and possibly treated with anger.


The Word of God says clearly, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a).


Unless rescued by Christ, in a nonworking or unequally yoked marriage, the children often become collateral damage. In an unequally yoked relationship even prior to marriage, once a heart is given it is very difficult to separate, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals”’ (1 Corinthians 15:33). 

 

Not listening to the good advice of a godly parent who has your best interest at heart is to ignore the wise counsel of Scripture. Take to heart the warnings of a godly mother. As one commentator once penned, “only in eternity will we fully see the blessing that godly women have brought to this world.”


We’ve seen earlier as Solomon has warned of wicked women and nagging wives in chapters 1-9, 21:9 and 25:24. But now chapter 31 ends with the counsel of a godly mother giving her son an example of a godly wife. One who honors God and brings joy to her family and is respected throughout the community. The culmination of the woman we’ve met in Proverbs 12:4 who is a “crown of her husband,” and the wife in 18:22 and 19:14 who is prudent and good and a “favor from the Lord.”

 

What a blessing it is for one to have a godly mother, and second only to our personal decision to follow Jesus Christ is our choice of a lifelong mate. Lemuel’s mom shows her love and concern for him. Don’t spend your life and strength on foolish living with those who will sap your strength and destroy you. Keep yourself for the one who will lift you up and support you. The one who loves the Lord first and honors him by loving and honoring you.

 

Prayer for today: Father, today help us to recognize where our hearts and loyalties are divided on too many other loves and remember our first love. Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen. 

Proverbs 31:1-3 “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.”

 

It is interesting that there is no other record of a “King Lemuel” except for here at the very end of the book of Proverbs. The last chapter. We don’t know much about him except that his name means “devoted to God” or “for God.” We know he is a king and that he has a wise mother, and either he or his mother wrote some poetry. There are a number of theories as to who he is. One in particular that seems to be of popular opinion among some commentators and theologians down through the ages is that he is in fact King Solomon himself possibly using a name his mother may have used for him as many mothers have pet names for their children. Who knows, maybe she would whisper quietly, “Lemuel, my child, son of my vows, devoted to God.” As even Solomon’s actual name given at birth, “Jedidiah” means “beloved of the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:25). And of course, he goes by another name entirely throughout the book of Ecclesiastes i.e., Qoheleth, “Preacher.”  The words attributed to the mother as quoted by “King Lemuel” are in keeping with Solomon’s advice to not only “hear” or “keep” your father’s commandments but also to “not forsake your mothers teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8, 6:20) But being at the end of the Proverbs and maybe even towards the end of Solomon’s life, we know he did not listen to his mother’s advice so her words are exclaiming, “what are you doing!?!”

 

King Solomon is known to have married women for political reasons. He married women outside the faith and built alters for them so they could worship their own gods in Israel! Of his one thousand wives and concubines, he had agendas besides his love for God, Israel or even of them. God was honoring his promise to David in keeping the kingdom of Israel together under Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-12). Immediately after Solomon’s death the kingdom ripped apart and Israel and Judah separated and have never been reconciled to this very day.

 

Children can sense when a marriage isn’t working. Even before a couple gets married, parents, friends or counselors can often spot when a relationship isn’t right and a marriage probably shouldn’t go forward. But by the time a couple has dated to the point that they’re thinking marriage, most of the time it’s too late. Wise counsel will be viewed as interference, and possibly treated with anger.


The Word of God says clearly, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a).


Unless rescued by Christ, in a nonworking or unequally yoked marriage, the children often become collateral damage. In an unequally yoked relationship even prior to marriage, once a heart is given it is very difficult to separate, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals”’ (1 Corinthians 15:33). 

 

Not listening to the good advice of a godly parent who has your best interest at heart is to ignore the wise counsel of Scripture. Take to heart the warnings of a godly mother. As one commentator once penned, “only in eternity will we fully see the blessing that godly women have brought to this world.”


We’ve seen earlier as Solomon has warned of wicked women and nagging wives in chapters 1-9, 21:9 and 25:24. But now chapter 31 ends with the counsel of a godly mother giving her son an example of a godly wife. One who honors God and brings joy to her family and is respected throughout the community. The culmination of the woman we’ve met in Proverbs 12:4 who is a “crown of her husband,” and the wife in 18:22 and 19:14 who is prudent and good and a “favor from the Lord.”

 

What a blessing it is for one to have a godly mother, and second only to our personal decision to follow Jesus Christ is our choice of a lifelong mate. Lemuel’s mom shows her love and concern for him. Don’t spend your life and strength on foolish living with those who will sap your strength and destroy you. Keep yourself for the one who will lift you up and support you. The one who loves the Lord first and honors him by loving and honoring you.

 

Prayer for today: Father, today help us to recognize where our hearts and loyalties are divided on too many other loves and remember our first love. Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen. 

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