Learning from Lemuel’s Mom
Lemuel’s mom, sneaking in before the famous Proverbs 31, really intrigues me. I sometimes think of her as the not so famous Proverbs 31 woman.
She is one of the wonderful inspirational moms of the Bible. These verses are a tribute to a mom who used her influence for good.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lemuel was a king. I have no idea what jobs my sons will do when they grow up (at the moment my eldest is focused on being a medieval knight while my youngest aims to drive a red motorcycle). But unless something changes fairly drastically in our world, neither of them will be king.
Of course I have prayers, hopes and dreams for them, the most important being that they will walk with the Lord all their days.
The wise words of Lemuel’s mother provide an opportunity to meditate on what we seek for our kids and what we actively teach them.
What kind of mom?
I enjoy imagining what Lemuel’s mom was like. She must have been a straight-talking, no nonsense kind of lady. I know she was a compassionate, upright and God-fearing woman.
My guess is she was a kind mom, who connected with her kids and really talked with them. I say that because here’s one of my favorite things about these verses: Lemuel remembered what his mother taught him.
What kind of education?
Lemuel’s mom focused her attention on her son’s character. Her concerns reflect that Lemuel was to be the king, the single biggest influence over his country. I’ve been wondering if her advice is applicable for all moms and children.
Of course godliness of character is a standard for all God’s children. Proverbs paints a picture for us of the truly wise, the one who fears the Lord, and we are privileged to know that Christ is the wisdom of God.
But specifically, there are also many ways in which our children will grow up to be people of influence. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, church members, pastors, deacons, friends, neighbors, citizens, employees and perhaps the boss – all roles of enormous influence for good or not so good.
Guard your influence to use it for good (vv 3-7)
Measured judgements and careful thinking – important qualities to encourage in our children. But Lemuel’s mother knows even the clearest thinker can get muddled by the wrong kind of relationship, or by an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
I love her focus here: she wants Lemuel to keep a level head so that he doesn’t “pervert the rights of all the afflicted” in his role as head of state.
She’s not so concerned with him reaching his full potential, earning as much as he can, having a comfortable life, or being generally successful in a worldly kind of way.
She is concerned for those who are suffering, and she wants Lemuel to keep justice for them.
Speak up for the weak (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Lemuel’s mom is not raising someone who will watch injustice from the sidelines. She wants him to speak up for the voiceless and “defend the rights of the poor and needy”.
Lemuel has power and he is to use it for good – to look after whose are vulnerable.
I’ll be honest, I’m a risk averse person. And sometimes my mommy instinct is to encourage my kids to stay out of trouble.
I don’t think Lemuel’s mom saw it that way. He had influence – and we all have influence – and she focused him on speaking out for the weak, even when it wasn’t popular.
The greatest king to copy
Learning from Lemuel’s mom gives me food for thought as I plan which curriculum to choose, or even which character lessons to major on. It’s a challenge to me to be a little more focused on helping those who need help , and to raise children who take that responsibility too.
Lemuel sounds like he was a great king, and I know his mom was a godly woman.
And of course, Lemuel is a foreshadow of the greatest King of all. Who laid down his life for those of us who are weak and unable to help ourselves.
What a privilege to teach our children to copy their Savior King.
More encouragement as we raise our children: