Pastor Dominic Cardamone
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I thank God for my mother and my mother-in-law. Both have gone to heaven, but their influence in my family’s life remains. When I read Proverbs 31, the words of this passage exude a mother’s influence. Interestingly, we find the words of a man, King Lemuel, inspired by God to record in Scripture some of what his mother taught him. This mother must have done something right in the life of her son. He is used of God to write Scripture, was a distributor of wisdom, etc. It is obvious that she had influence and made an impact on her son’s life. How did that happen?
There are varied opinions among Bible students as to who King Lemuel is. There is not enough evidence in Scripture to unequivocally identify him; however, there is good reason and many authorities both ancient and modern regard Lemuel as an endearing name used by Solomon’s mother. Lemuel means “devoted to God” or “for God” which correlates with the name the prophet Nathan gave him: Jedidiah means “beloved of God.” (See 2 Samuel 12:25.) The content of Proverbs 31 gives the indication that correlates with the life of Solomon as well (cautioning him concerning women and indulgences with wealth).
Bathsheba, Solomon’s mom, dealt with a lot in her life. David’s scheming, Uriah murdered, her first child dying, family problems due to David’s sin (Adonijah trying to take the throne from Solomon), etc. In spite of all of that, she persevered. She remained steadfast and faithful to her family. As you read the words of Proverbs 31 you can see that she worked at instilling God’s principles into the life of her son. Moms out there do a lot and put up with a lot (sleepless nights, often taking care of everyone but themselves, surmounting stress from the crazy of daily life, etc.)! We see you and thank you for persevering through it!
When you read this chapter, you find that the words she spoke to her son were expressions of:
Concern – She spoke as one considering what advice/counsel to give to her son. “What shall I say to thee?” She took care to teach her son and wanted to make sure he was doing right, living right, etc.
Urgency – She employed repetition into her talks. She wanted to demonstrate the importance and gain her son’s attention. She had the right attitude. Influencing her son was serious business to her.
Ownership – She spoke as the one with authority in his life and reminded him that he was devoted to God (“My son,” “son of my womb,” “son of my vows”). She was not passive in her dealings with her son. It was deeply personal, and she was possessive of her role. She recognized that he was a gift from God to raise and guide for the Lord, and she didn’t relinquish the responsibility to someone else.
Love – The umbrella to all that a mom does is love. There is nothing fiercer than a mom’s love. This mom loved her son in giving him sound wisdom and caution.
My siblings and I used to joke when my mom would give us lectures as kids. We would ask her to give us the “short” version. She could be long-winded and had a knack for explaining the same thing in what seemed like five different ways. But as I reflect on the past with my mom, those lectures, the words and notes of encouragement, and sometimes the strong rebukes were all expressions of her love and desire to influence me for the Lord as a godly mother.
A good portion of Proverbs 31 is guidance given concerning her son’s manners, habits, practices, passions, etc. This was a mother seeking to mold her son. She did so by saying the hard things to him. She warned him to avoid hindrances. She told him of evil and the consequences it can bring. Her desire for her son was for him to be a pattern of purity and not to use his wealth (represented by wine: a symbol of wealth and blessing) for self-indulgence to fulfill his own desires.
She also said the helpful things, too. She encouraged him to help others, to do right, to judge righteously, to stand for those who could not stand up for themselves. Her desire was for him to fulfill his God-given calling and purpose.
I’m thankful for a mom who didn’t shy away from the hard conversations and sought to guide me. I needed it. If you’re a momma laboring to instruct your children in that which is right, don’t lose heart. Keep going! It will shape their lives for good.
Bathsheba gave Solomon a blueprint for the right spouse. That’s what the bulk of the chapter covers. As a parent, making sure your child’s relationships are right is crucial especially for his or her future spouse. While not perfect, Bathsheba undoubtedly embodied many of the characteristics of a virtuous woman that she encouraged Solomon to seek after. It’s not enough for us to simply instruct our children in the principles of God’s Word, we must model wisdom in practice as well. Too often we contradict what we say by what we do. Moms (and dads for that matter) commit yourselves to modeling the Christian life to your kids in a meaningful way. Their future depends upon it.