Virtuous Woman series #1: A Mother’s Wisdom
Proverbs 31 gives a mother’s advice to her son, King Lemuel, about finding a virtuous woman to marry. Both young women who desire to be virtuous and young men who seek a virtuous wife can be helped in this study.
Who is Lemuel?
So let’s get started in our study of Proverbs 31 as we learn more about this wise woman and her beloved son, Lemuel. Most conservative scholars agree that Lemuel was a mother’s pet name for her son, Solomon. The name Lemuel means devoted to God. So if Lemuel is actually Solomon, then the mother is Bathsheba.
You, no doubt, remember the sordid story of David and Bathsheba and their adulterous relationship recorded in II Samuel 11. David not only committed adultery with this beautiful wife of one of his military officers, Uriah; but when he discovered Bathsheba was pregnant, he arranged for Uriah to be put in the heat of the battle and then withdraw military support for him so that he would be killed. Then he could be free to marry Bathsheba and cover up his sin of adultery. It worked. Uriah was killed in battle and David, who plotted his death, immediately married his widow.
What is genuine confession of sin?
No sooner had David committed this dastardly sin, when God sent the prophet Nathan to point his bony finger in his face and declare, “Thou art the man!” I encourage you to read the story in II Samuel 12:1-23 of how God through Nathan dealt with self-righteous King David. Although David confessed his sin as recorded in Psalm 51 and God forgave him; nevertheless, he suffered repeated family tragedies and heartaches because of his sin, God forgave Him and graciously worked out His will in the whole situation.
I also encourage you to stop now and read Psalm 51 for an example of a genuine, heart-felt confession of sin. This is a far cry from a flippant, meaningless “Sorry God! I goofed!” When we confess our sins from broken contrite hearts, God is quick to forgive. Read I John 1:5-10 to understand how you can be forgiven of your sins. There is no Biblical ground for “doing penance”. There are only two choices you have. You either die for your sins and go to hell, or you trust in Christ who shed His blood as the payment in full for your sins and gave you the gift of eternal life. That sacrifice of Jesus’ shed blood is your only grounds for being forgiven and cleansed. Understand that when you trust Christ and confess your sins; God not only forgives, but cleanses your heart from all unrighteousness.
You can’t beat the game of sin!
But understand also that sin always carries negative consequences. Though you are forgiven there are scars and consequences that follow you for the rest of your life and sometimes for generations to come. We can never live victorious lives until we have learned to hate sin as God hates it.
Now if you’ve already read the first 23 verses of II Samuel 12, continue reading verse 24-25 for the story of the birth of Solomon, the second child of David and Bathsheba. Note that God loved him. That is, God had a special plan for Solomon to be the king of Israel after his father David died. Through David and Solomon’s progeny, the Lord Jesus Christ would one day be born to the virgin Mary. That’s another story that you can read on this site under the link, Virgin Birth.
Bathsheba’s desire for her son
Note that the prophet Nathan called baby Solomon Jedediah which means “beloved of the Lord”. That must have been a great comfort to David and Bathsheba. It would not be unreasonable to think that Bathsheba would give her baby son her pet name for him, Lemuel which means “devoted to God”.
In the birth of little Solomon (Jedediah, Lemuel), we see the grace of God on David and Bathsheba, whose union had begun so shamefully in adultery and murder. If God can do that for them, He can forgive and cleanse you and give you a new start in life, regardless of your past.
And so returning to Proverbs 31 we see in verse 2 that King Lemuel is the son of his mother’s vows. As all godly mothers and fathers love their children enough to dedicate them to the Lord and instruct them in the knowledge of God, so Bathsheba trained little Lemuel to be a man of God and the future king of Israel. So here in Proverbs 31 we have the teachings of King Lemuel as he passes on to generations to come the instruction of his mother.
Proverbs 1:5-9 tells us that a wise son or daughter will listen to and value the instructions of their parents, but fools will despise and reject that instruction. For more information on Fools, go to our link on Fools on this web site.
Watch this link for more messages describing a virtuous woman and reread Proverbs 31 for background on that which is to come.
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