Thursday, October 19, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 31
Our scripture reading in the Book of Proverbs concludes with one of the most beloved chapters in the book, Proverbs 31. The identification of the author has been the subject of debate; however, I believe the author was King Solomon. We read in the opening salutation, “The words [discourse; law] of king Lemuel, the prophecy [burden; tribute] that his mother taught him [instructed; discipline; chasten]” (Proverbs 31:1).
Perhaps Bathsheba gave her son a nick name that held deep meaning for her. Having sorrowed the loss of her firstborn son, Lemuel’s name held deep meaning for his mother. The literal meaning of Lemuel is “unto God”, meaning dedicated to God, and no doubt expressed her heart’s desire.
I suggest two sections or divisions of Proverbs 31. The first, Proverbs 31:1-9, contains a Queen mother’s instructions to her son who would one day serve the nation as king.
The second division, Proverbs 31:10-31, is perhaps the most beautiful tribute ever written by a son in praise of his mother. Countless books and innumerable quotes exist in praise of motherhood; however, I know of no other source that paints the blessed picture of motherhood more perfect than Proverbs 31. Alas, my task is a brief devotional commentary and to that end I suggest one from a devotional I first penned March 31, 2015.
Proverbs 31:29-30 – “29 Many daughters have done virtuously [served with strength; courage; excellence], but thou excellest [ascend; go beyond] them all. 30 Favour [charm; grace] is deceitful [lies; unreliable], and beauty is vain [temporal; passing]: but a woman that feareth [reverences] the LORD, she shall be praised.”
One of the great tragedies of our 21st century society is the void of godly, virtuous daughters, wives and mothers. The strength of femininity has served mankind well and the influence of daughters, wives and mothers on society is immeasurable. Like salt seasons and flavors, women have the power to season their homes, communities and society with feminine, preserving grace.
Historically, mothers served not only as the womb of life, but also as the moral compass for a family, community and nation. Make no mistake, the influence of organizations like NOW, and the rise to leadership of women who crusade for and encourage the slaughter of the unborn infant in a mother’s womb has dethroned America’s daughters, wives and mothers.
Proverbs 31:31 – “Give [Deliver; yield; recompense; pay; apportion] her of the fruit [reward; results] of her hands [labor; consecration]; and let her own works [labor; deeds; achievements; behavior] praise [boast; glory] her in the gates [gates of the city where the elders sat and exercised judgment].”
A husband, son and daughter of a virtuous wife and mother can never compliment or praise a woman of virtue too much! In his letter to the scattered and persecuted Christians of the 1st century church the apostle Peter challenged husbands: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [wife] according to knowledge [understanding], giving honour [cherish; treat as priceless] unto the wife…” (1 Peter 3:7).
It is my prayer this brief devotional has inspired daughters, wives and mothers to love the Lord and know, in spite of what this godless society might tell you, your influence is beyond your comprehension. Many have said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
I close with an illustration and am at a lost to cite its origin.
Illust. – A man stopped at the flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived 200 miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied: “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have 75 cents and a rose cost $2.00.”
The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I will buy you a rose for your mother.” He placed his FTD order of flowers to his mother and bought a rose for the girl. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride.
She responded, “Yes, please, if you could. Take me to my mother,” and she directed him to a cemetery where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up the flowers and drove the 200 miles to his mother’s home.
Wives and mother’s long for their family’s affection and nothing will compare to the praise of her family. By the way, to my wife, daughters and mothers in my life…I love you!
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith