A Commentary from Proverbs 31
Word of Counsel from a Parent to a Child King
What shall be said? What shall be advised? What shall be counseled? To one with so much authority and responsibility, only the utmost highest of godly wisdom will suffice.
Who shall speak it? Who shall form the word of wisdom? Surely a parent, an overseer of life shall be heard with clarity and respect. Surely one who speaks from the position of commitment and covenant, the right has been earned to speak such noble thoughts to one who is held in such high regard; entrusted with the weight of authority.
O Lemuel, how shall this counsel begin? With what words may this instruction have their foundation of thought? With what introduction can such lofty wisdom be initiated? It shall begin with a practical comparison. The appeal of wisdom therefore shall be opened by a word regarding personal destruction that should be obvious to all…do not be like those who give their strength to perverse women; do not sacrifice gifts and privilege so cheaply for momentary happiness; do not think so lightly of your treasure so as to be tempted to give something so costly to those who care nothing for it. Remember the ways of Samson the Judge, who fell into many pangs of pain caused by sin and dissipation; suffering the fruit of blindness reaped through a weakness to women. Learn from Samson the Nazirite, who fell into much hardship and regret by cheaply selling his vow for momentary pleasures. Although he had a high calling, a noble gifting, a kingly role, his vitality was forsaken in the ways of the flesh; it was scattered to a woman without a name. In this way, Lemuel, as a shadow of the counsel that must follow, listen to the song of wisdom being played for the audience of your heart.
O Lemuel, don’t dismiss its melody of instruction, for this is mere introduction, parting the seas to the sincere counsel, of which it must be stated…
Oh, the dangers of drink are legion! Let it not ensnare you, for you are a king! What must be said plainly is that it is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire strong drink! Clarity! Sharpness! Acuteness! These are to be pursued by those who carry such weighty responsibilities given to a leader of people, for it will bring life to the land and prosperity to a kingdom. Unaware! Unwitting! Dullness! These are the wicked sister traits to be shunned, for the leader who chases after these chase after the destruction of the kingdom and it’s citizens. Remember the ways of Ben-hadad the King of Syria, who was a champion in wine and drink. Learn from Ben-hadad, who failed his position as he was drinking himself drunk with the thirty-two kings, all the while Samaria marched upon his kingdom. His end was swift destruction. His kingship was removed. His people suffered. This is lamented throughout history.
O Lemuel, let not the season of your influence be so easily washed away by the momentary pleasures of wine!
For how shall those who declare decrees and instructions remember what has been spoken if they are distracted by the redness of the liquid that swirls in the cup? How shall the foolishness caused by drink be atoned for once the king’s reputation has been damaged? Perversion of wise and noble judgments will be inescapable to the one who is lost in the fog of strong drink; even if their author be of such high privilege and noble standing as that of a king or a son of the King. Truth and morality shall be corrupted for the commoner as it is forgotten by their captain within the jug of consumption.
Instead, Lemuel, allow such indulgence to pass to those who are perishing in their hopelessness. Those who have led a life of rebellion against our God, who have nothing to look forward to but His wrath, let them be given wine and strong drink as the future of Sheol beckons to them. For the grave awaits! Judgment is near! Allow those who perish to seek their strength in drink as bitterness gives birth to bitterness! For these are not kings but have been destined for a different role in which their poverty is exacerbated by mocking decisions. Therefore, let such as person as this indulge in drink so as to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more, while they still can.
But as for you, O Lemuel my son, remember your calling as a king. May it be that your memory should fail as to your relationship as my child, but may it always remember your high-born status as a king. To you it has been granted to stand up and fight for the afflicted! To the orphan and to the widow your attention should be acutely focused! To the mute who has no voice you have been called to contend for justice! To the needy and destitute you have been empowered to render life! To the one dwelling in darkness you have been given light!
O Lemuel, what shall wisdom say but this……let not the season of your kingly influence be sold so cheaply!
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9–10 (NASB95)
“You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.”
1 Corinthians 4:8(NASB95)