We have made it to Prov. 31, the end of the book. As we have read each proverb, I have often commented how much human nature hasn't changed and how relevant the proverbs remain in our time. Some of the words of Prov. 31, however, seem dated. This chapter is written by someone who identifies himself as King Lemuel - and he says that these are words taught to him by his mother. Who is Lemuel? We don't know. There was no king of Israel of this name, so he had to have been a foreigner - and yet his words are contained with those of Solomon. Lemuel begins with several warnings that will sound familiar:
No, my son! No, son of my womb! No, son of my vows! Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink; or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed, and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Prov. 31:1-9)
The first warning is against unrestrained sexual gratification; the harmful effect on a person is seen in David's adultery with Bathsheba and with Solomon's relationship with God after he married women who did not share his faith. The second warning is against drunkenness because of the impact on control and memory. Drinking may be defensible to some degree for those who lack the power to solve their problems, but otherwise there is no excuse. The last warnings are to speak out for the rights of others and to defend the rights of those who cannot defend themselves.
Meditation: We all have one problem, one thing in our lives, that we struggle with most and that separates us most often from God. What is that for you? Do you have power over it or does it have power over you? Are you at a point where you are willing to surrender it to God and ask for God's help in overcoming it?