A Mother's Wisdom

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Mother’s in Scripture

I have been intrigued as I read through scripture and look at the stories of the mothers of the great leaders in scripture. Primarily because it seems that the mother’s are the ones that pick the names of their children, and often the name means something.
At times we also see mother’s make vows over their children, dedicating them to the Lord, or taking extreme measures to see to their survival, as was the case with Moses. I think of the story of Adam and Eve, and how she must have felt to see one of her sons kill another. According to the story, Eve would have seen many generations follow her children, and as they started to bring more and more evil into the world, it makes me wonder how she felt about that.
Sometimes we see a mother make a plea for a child, and that will result in a vow to the Lord. It makes you wonder what advice a mother would give her son in those days.

A Mother’s Words In Scripture

For all that scripture has to offer, we easily forget that there is an entire chapter that is said to have come from a mom. And it may not be what you would expect.
We have been told that the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon, but as it turns out, there are several authors in Proverbs, and one of them is a mom. Yes, you heard that correct, there is a chapter of Proverbs, the word of God, that is credited to not just a woman, and not just any regular mother, but the mother of a king.
Perhaps by looking at this, we can derive the kind of things this mother hoped for her son, and apply that into our lives as well.
Proverbs 31:1 NLT
The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
Now, we don’t really have any information today as to who King Lemuel is or exactly where he ruled. We can derive his name would be something like, “Go towards God.” But, that is about all we can get for him.
We don’t know the name of his mother, only that what his mom taught him was captured in Proverbs. Even more, this is unique in scripture. No where else do we have something like this written, an admonition from a mother to her son, who would be a king.
This happened across the ancient near east, Babylon and Egypt. There are many of these kinds of writings, so it is possible that the final editors of Proverbs pulled this text from another source and stitched it in here.
And that would make sense, because Solomon had a great amount of wisdom, he was unable to find the courage to carry it out. And they admonition here is that the king not allow himself to be taken so easily.
Suffice it to say, you are reading the words of wisdom of a mom to her son.
And she does not go easy on him, nor does she pull any punches in regards to other women.
Proverbs 31:2–3 NLT
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.
This sounds really direct, but you have to put yourself into her culture. Do not make the mistake of importing our western Christian culture into the text. Rather, put yourself into her world, into her text, and see this from her perspective.
Women in this day were often used in peace treaties between tribes and kingdoms. But it came at a price. The wife and harem of a king would bring with it all the religious trappings as well. All the idols, worship and traditions. For Israel, this would become a major problem. Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife was a treacherous and murderous woman. Solomon would have wives that would lead him to setup altars to other gods, and these were setup all across Israel.
Remember, she is speaking to her son, a future king, warning him to stay true to his faith and find a partner who would remain true with him. Rather than just giving in to his desires, using his power for evil, she is warning him.
Don’t use your strength on women begs the question, for what should he use his power? But first, she wants to cover some other items on her list.
Proverbs 31:4–5 NLT
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.
You might hear someone say they drink to forget. And I get that. They want to forget the day, or their state in life, or past events. Again, I understand how that can influence a persons decision to drink.
But, here is the thing. When we drink, we lose the ability to choose what we want to forget. In other words, you might drink to forget a bad day at work. But as you drink, you start to forget other things too. You lose track of your character, you think more of yourself and not others. You forget your morals.
Ask yourself this: when you think of someone who really stands up for the poor and oppressed, do you envision someone who drinks often? Were their greatest moments with the oppressed when they were drunk?
I know it sounds like a country song, but beer and women are the first two items Lemuel’s mother goes after. She has seen what happens when kings get focused on sex and alcohol, and for her, it is not good.
She has other ideas for how to use wine and liquor.
Proverbs 31:6–7 NLT
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.
This verse might make is seem like Lemuel’s mom is a bit hardcore, but there is some interesting poetry going on in this part. It can be read so say that those who are consumed by drinking are dying, distressed, impoverished and troubled. In other words, drinking is the cause. It is a character statement.
The dying, distressed, impoverished and troubled are the ones who drink.
The living, faithful, rich and peaceful are the ones who do not.
Seek the latter in your life, my son.
But most importantly, when you find yourself in the position of a king, when you find yourself in the position of power or any kind of influence, do this:
Proverbs 31:8–9 NLT
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.
Now you can see the poetry. For those she just spoke of, those consumed by death, distress, poverty and trouble, for those my son, speak up and stand up for them. Make sure they are cared for.
She focuses right in on the most important things. She goes right into the entire purpose that God raised up Israel.
She goes right for the very thing that Jesus was all about here on the earth and exactly what he has asked us to do to.
Mom’s and parents, this is how you are to train your children.
And sons and daughters, this is what mom expects of you.
Can you imagine if we just went one generation where we taught our kids to be this way and how the world would change if we had a generation that lived this out?
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