BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him….do not waste your strength on women…Rulers should not crave alcohol….Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” Proverbs 31:1
About a month ago, I attended a business appreciation lunch where the Colorado Governor was the keynote speaker. During his speech, he shared some of the concepts about life that his mother held which had an impact on his life.
Proverbs 31 is known for the verses on the “wife of noble character” found at the end of the chapter. However, the first part of this chapter provide some insight and are of significance as well. The reference to “King Lemuel” is uncertain, but seems to have evidence of a reference to King Solomon. We can certainly see some reinforcement of these concepts from his mother in many other proverbs of Solomon.
The “Queen mothers” of the east were held in high regard. If this is Solomon, we know that his mother was Bathsheba which holds some significant history and context.
This advice from a mother relate to that which can render a ruler ineffective at best and allow him to become a tyrant at worst. The failure of some of this advice can be seen in Solomon’s weakness.
Solomon was to guard his heart and control his passions. His mother cautions the King to not, “give your strength to women.” We see that Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines and that in his old age they turned his heart away from fully following after the Lord.
Solomon was to control that which would control him. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.” (Proverbs 31:4,5 NLT)
Mothers advice provides the “why” – the consequence – of allowing a mind and heart to be influenced by alcohol and a “party priority.” A leader is first to learn to lead himself. The adage I am often reminded of is, “the higher the calling, the fewer the choices.”
The final advice in this triumvirate is related to governing with justice and equity. “Speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.” We see this priority reflected in Psalm 82:3, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
A King, a leader, is to understand the entire spectrum of individuals who are in his kingdom. When John the Baptist asked about the ministry of Jesus the report was, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5 NIV)
Wise leaders are to give attention to and guard their hearts, their minds and to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. That is good advice for any leader and for any follower of King Jesus.
Prayer for today…. Thank you for godly advice and wise instructions from mothers, fathers and others that “speak into our lives.” Allow us to be wise in paying attention and applying those principles to our lives.