Wisdom From King Lemuel’s Mother

Scripture Passage: 
Proverbs 31:1-31

INTRODUCTION: King Lemuel wrote the last chapter of Proverbs but he credits his mother with the wisdom contained in his words. Whereas most of Proverbs deals with a father speaking to his son, this chapter contains a mother’s wisdom that she gives to her son. Mostly, she deals with the danger of alcohol and the need for a virtuous woman.

  1. THE DANGER OF STRONG DRINK (Proverbs 31:1-9)
    1. The Wisdom of This Chapter (Proverbs 31:1-2)
      1. The words of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1)
      2. The prophecy that his mother taught him (Proverbs 31:1): NOTE: a mother has great power to influence her children; consider the influence that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had on him (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15).
      3. Given to her son (Proverbs 31:2)
        1. Her own son – “my son”
        2. Her physical child – “the son of my womb”
        3. Her chosen child – “the son of my vows”; she had made vows to Lemuel’s father in marriage, but she had also likely made vows to God concerning her son and his upbringing. Compare Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11).
    2. Common Dangers for Kings (Proverbs 31:3-4)
      1. That they would give their strength to women (Proverbs 31:3; Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:1-8; Nehemiah 13:26)
      2. That they would give their ways to destruction (Proverbs 31:3)
      3. That they would give themselves to drink (Proverbs 31:4)
    3. The Warnings Against Strong Drink (Proverbs 31:5-7)
      1. Destroys the rule of kings and princes (Proverbs 31:5)
        1. Causes them to forget the law
        2. Causes them to pervert judgment
      2. Fit only for those who are losers (Proverbs 31:6-7)
        1. The recipients (Proverbs 31:6)
          1. Those ready to perish
          2. Those with heavy heart
        2. The benefits (Proverbs 31:7)
          1. He will forget his poverty
          2. He will forget his misery
        3. NOTE: Christians are more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:37) and will never have reason to fit in the above categories.
    4. The Righteous Use of the Tongue (Proverbs 31:8-9)
      1. To speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8); consider Esther in Esther 4:13-16.
      2. To plead the cause of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:9; Psalm 82:3)
  2. THE VALUE OF A VIRTUOUS WOMAN (Proverbs 31:10-31)
    1. Her Purity (Proverbs 31:10-11)
      1. She is virtuous (Proverbs 31:10)
        1. Ruth (Ruth 3:11)
        2. A crown to her husband (Proverbs 12:4)
      2. She is valuable (Proverbs 31:10)
        1. Like the faithful man, she is hard to find (Proverbs 20:6)
        2. Like wisdom, she is more valuable than rubies (Proverbs 8:11)
      3. She is vigilant (Proverbs 31:11)
        1. Her husband trusts in her (1 Peter 3:1-4)
        2. Her husband depends on her; having no need for spoil
    2. Her Loyalty (Proverbs 31:12, 23)
      1. She does good for her husband (Proverbs 31:12)
      2. She increases the influence of her husband (Proverbs 31:23)
    3. Her Industry (Proverbs 31:13-19, 27)
      1. She is a master buyer
        1. Buying wool and flax (Proverbs 31:13)
        2. Buying food for her family (Proverbs 31:14)
        3. Buying a field (Proverbs 31:16)
      2. She is an accomplished craftsman
        1. Working the wool and flax (Proverbs 31:13, 19)
          1. Spindle: used to twist fibers into thread
          2. Distaff: the staff on which the wool or flax is wound
        2. Planting and reaping a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16)
        3. Making good merchandise like candles (Proverbs 31:18)
      3. She cares for those in her household
        1. Giving meat to her household (Proverbs 31:15)
        2. Looking well to the ways of her household (Proverbs 31:27)
      4. She diligently accomplishes her work
        1. Rising while it is yet night (Proverbs 31:15)
        2. Girding her loins with strength (Proverbs 31:17)
        3. Eating not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27; see 1 Timothy 5:10, 13)
    4. Her Economy (Proverbs 31:14, 16, 18, 21-22, 24)
      1. In purchasing and working flax and wool (Proverbs 31:14)
      2. In purchasing and providing food (Proverbs 31:16)
      3. In making merchandise, probably to be sold (Proverbs 31:18)
      4. In clothing her house well (Proverbs 31:21-22)
      5. In running a home business (Proverbs 31:24)
    5. Her Charity (Proverbs 31:20; Romans 16:1-2)
      1. Stretching out her hands to the poor
      2. Reaching forth her hands to the needy
    6. Her Dignity (Proverbs 31:25)
      1. Clothed with strength
      2. Clothed with honor
      3. Preparing for the time to come
    7. Her Courtesy (Proverbs 31:26)
      1. Speaking with wisdom (James 3:13-18)
      2. Speaking with kindness
    8. Her Testimony (Proverbs 31:28-29, 31)
      1. Her children rise up and bless her (Proverbs 31:28)
      2. Her husband rises up and praises her (Proverbs 31:28)
      3. She excels the daughters of virtue (Proverbs 31:29)
      4. Her own works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:31)
    9. Her Sanctity (Proverbs 31:30)
      1. She ignores the deceitfulness of favor
      2. She ignores the vanity of beauty (Proverbs 11:22)
      3. She exalts the fear of the Lord
      4. She receives praise for her wise choice
David Reagan