We return to one of the most beloved chapters in Proverbs. Proverbs 31 commends and celebrates the virtuous daughter, wife and mother. We continue our study of four principles every mother should teach her children (Proverbs 31:3-9).
Be virtuous is our first principle. A godly mother will protect the innocence of her children and challenge her sons and daughters to be morally pure (31:3).
Proverbs 31:3 – “Give not [direct not] thy strength [virtue; honor] unto women, nor thy ways [path; journey] to that which destroyeth kings.”
A second principle addresses intoxicants: Be Sober. Too few mothers exhort their children to refuse intoxicants [wine, alcohol and drugs] that desensitize a man’s conscience and cloud his judgment (31:4).
Proverbs 31:4-5 – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes [rulers; judges who weigh matters of law] strong drink: 5Lest they drink, and forget [cease to care] the law, and pervert the judgment [cause; plea] of any of the afflicted [troubled; depressed; poor; lowly].”
Be compassionate is the third principle. A godly mother will impart to her children a spirit of compassion for those less fortunate (31:6-7).
Proverbs 31:6-7– “Give strong drink [intoxicants; alcohol] unto him that is ready to perish [die], and wine unto those that be of heavy [bitter] hearts [soul; spirit]. 7Let him drink, and forget [ignore; cease to care for] his poverty, and remember [think about; meditate upon; recollect] his misery [want; anguish; trouble] no more.”
Some Christians have used Proverbs 31:6-7 to champion social drinking; however, the context and setting of these verses is far from the idea of promoting alcohol consumption among God’s people. Undiluted wine was used judiciously before modern medicines to aid the hurting and comfort a broken soul. For example, in Luke 10:34, the Good Samaritan gave wine to a man who had been left for dead by highway robbers. Alcohol was offered to men dying on a cross to dull the pain and suffering of the cross [something Christ refused because His purpose was to suffer and bear the full punishment of man’s sins]. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to “use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23). With modern pharmaceutical medicines, alcohol and wine consumption are unnecessary vices and temptations.
Continuing with the exhortation to be compassionate, we see in Proverbs 31:7 that a godly mother will instill in her children a loving compassion for those less fortunate…especially those bearing pain and sorrows.
4) The fourth principle godly mothers should instill in their children is a passion for justice: Be Just (31:8-9).
Proverbs 31:8-9 – “Open thy mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves] in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction [left defenseless]. 9a “Open thy mouth, judge [govern; execute judgment; pronounce sentence] righteously [justice] and plead [judge; contend] the cause [administer justice] of the poor [humbled; afflicted; lowly; those in distress] and needy [beggarly; destitute].”
A mother should cultivate in her children a passion for justice and the desire to aid those unable to speak for themselves [particularly true of the unborn child in a mother’s womb, the very young and the elderly]. A righteous man will take up the cause of the weak and poor. Like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34), the heart of a just man is tender to the cry of the suffering. Good men will show grace, mercy and demand justice.
Proverbs 20:28 – “Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his thrones upholden by mercy.”