Well here we are at the end of our journey through the book of Proverbs. I’m hoping that it’s been a bit eye-opening for you. My desire in writing these posts is that you have been able to take away at least one thing and massage it into your life. You’ll be a better person for it…and may I suggest that Wisdom will always welcome you back to ‘snack’ on a morsel of common sense. Think of the Proverbs as nutrient packed vitamins…make sure that you get enough everyday.
So with that in mind, let’s see what Proverbs is saying to us today. So as I ponder this final chapter I discover that it is rich in words to the wise. I’m going to make it a two-part post because both sections have some valuable insights for us.
The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
do not waste your strength on women,
on those who ruin kings.
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.
Alcohol is for the dying,
and wine for those in bitter distress.
Let them drink to forget their poverty
and remember their troubles no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. Proverb 31: 1-9
So who is this King Lemuel? Scholars don’t really know, and that’s okay. But you have to love his mother who instructed him in wisdom. By the way, this should be eye-opening for women and mothers, as well as for men, and those who consider themselves to be people of importance. It’s eye-opening because it’s not a great leader, scholar or sage that is instructing King Lemuel, rather it is his mother. There’s something about mothers, eh? I think about my own Mom. Her name was Grayce (spelled with a ‘y’, and you dare not get that wrong!). While she wasn’t a perfect mom, there are many jewels of wisdom that she not only seeded into my life, but also lived. These became apparent in the her last few years, and it was clear that she did her best to live according to wisdom. As I grow older, I am discovering that she was right all along!
This last chapter of Proverbs speaks volumes to the reality that of all the people to give wisdom to our world’s leaders, it’s mothers. What does that tell you?
Lemuel’s mom has some words of wisdom for her son, the king, and here they are…
First… His mom warns him of falling for the trap that free sex with anyone and everyone is anything but free. This speaks to one of the main themes from Proverbs that says, ‘just because you desire it, doesn’t mean you should’. Unrestrained sex outside of marriage actually removes the sacredness and the mystery of the physical union between a married couple. Restraint and self-discipline are necessary character traits simply because they keep our desires in check. Mom knows that an undisciplined life comes to ruin. Smart mom!
Speaking of ‘unrestrained’, Mom’s second bit of advice has to do with drinking alcohol. Whether it’s liquor, beer, wine, or legal drugs…too much of a good thing is not a good thing. The nasty thing about alcohol is that if you don’t place restraints on it, it will definitely put restraints on you. Meaning…it will weaken, dull and lessen you in more ways than one.
And Mom’s final word of advice: look out for your fellow human being, especially those who are the victims of injustice, the homeless, the poor, and the marginalized. A society that cares for the least is a society that cares for all.
While these are words from a mom to her son, the king, they are also words of wisdom to you and me. I find it peculiar how I can think of innumerable ways that YOU should live your life in order to make MY world ‘happy’, while at the same time I give no thought to the way I live my life.
So today I raise a cup of tea to Mom and all the mom’s out there who through their actions and words, plant seeds of wisdom into hearts of humanity!