A Shepherd’s note: Because only seven months have 31 days, I am pressed to introduce several verses in today’s reading to insure we will have studied this entire chapter by year’s end. Much of Proverbs 31 is devoted to extolling the qualities of a model wife and mother; however, the opening verses of this chapter are a king’s recollection of his mother’s loving instructions to him as a boy. Many believe Lemuel [lit. “unto God”] was Bathsheba’s nickname for her son Solomon, heir to the throne of his father David.
We will note two of four guiding principles the Queen Mother taught her son in preparation for the day he would be king. Every godly parent longs to see their sons and daughters walk in a godly, upright manner—therefore, these “princely principles” are not only worth noting, but instilling in your home as you train, guide and discipline your children.
The first guiding principle is an exhortation to Be Pure (31:3).
Proverbs 31:3 – “Give not[do not deliver or direct] thy strength [virtue; honor] unto women, nor thy ways [path; journey] to that which destroyeth kings [wipeout – i.e. washing ink off a leather scroll].”
Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, knew well the devastating consequences of immorality. Her sin of adultery with David had resulted in the murder of her husband Uriah and the weight of God’s judgment when the son she had conceived in adultery died as a punishment of David’s sin.
Bathsheba taught her son that immorality was a cancer to a man’s character and would erode his ability to rule in honor and reign as a virtuous king. She warned her son that a path of promiscuity and sinful pleasure would lead him down a road of destruction. For more on this topic I invite you to read Proverbs 7:10-21.
Proverbs 31:4-5 – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drinkwine[fermented drink; that which intoxicates]; nor for princes[rulers; judges; those who weigh matters of law] strong drink [intoxicants; alcoholic liquor]:5 Lest they drink, and forget[fail; cease to care] the law, and pervert the judgment [cause; plea] of any of the afflicted [troubled; depressed; poor; lowly; humble].”
The terrible toll imbibing in wine and alcohol has had on humanity is legion. Slick television advertisements hide, deny and disguise the reality of multitudes of family scarred by the emotional, physical and spiritual cost of alcohol. Only a fool would deny the reality of alcohol’s destruction on marriage, home and career. Consider the following evidences:
1) Moral effect: Children and teens exposed to alcohol use have a predisposition for alcohol abuse. [Focus on the Family – Parent’s Guide to Teen Health]
– 20% of 5th graders have experienced intoxication from alcohol consumption
– 60% of 6th graders say they feel pressured by other students to drink
– More than 50% of 8th graders have tried alcohol
– 80% of 12th graders have used alcohol
Statistics from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [Focus on the Family – 2002]
– Nearly half of all violent crimes happen under the influence of alcohol
– People under the influence of alcohol commit 86% of all murders
– People under the influence of alcohol commit 60% of sexual offenses
– 30% of deaths in auto accidents, nearly 15,000 deaths annually, are alcohol related
A Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) study found that 95% of all college campus crimes (including date rape and sexual promiscuity) are alcohol related.
– 75% of esophageal cancers in the U.S. occur in heavy drinkers
– 50% of cancers in the mouth, pharynx andlarynx are alcohol related
In spite of the undeniable reality of alcohol’s curse and the Bible’s warnings concerning the desensitizing effect intoxicants have on man’s conscience, many in today’s church are promoting the liberty of “social drinking”. Alcohol deceives and Bathsheba’s concern was that her son would fail to heed her warnings concerning wine and alcohol and the nation would suffer the consequences of a king with distorted judgment.
Proverbs 31:5 – “Lest they drink, and forget[leave; fail; cease to care] the law, and pervert the judgment [cause; plea] of any of the afflicted [troubled; depressed; poor; lowly; humble].”
The Old Testament prophet Hosea echoed the same concern with alcohol’s curse on man’s reasoning. “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away [seize; take hold of] the heart [mind; understanding].” (Hosea 4:11)
A godly parent, realizing the evil and toll of alcohol, must teach and model for their children the reality that all intoxicants—drugs, wine and alcohol—are a curse. They dull the senses, distort perception and pervert one’s judgment.
Danger: What parents do in moderation their children take to excess!