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Proverbs 31:1-9

Talks for Growing Christians

Wisdom in Advocacy

Proverbs 31:1-9

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Lesson Number 54

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The sayings of King Lemuel contain truth for every believer.

Practical Application

  1. Be a mother like King Lemuel’s Mother!

Questions

  1. Who was King Lemuel?
  2. What is the subject of the teaching in verse 3?
  3. The teaching regarding excesses of strong drink in verses 4 and 5 is that it is sinful for those in authority (and all of us) to allow drunkenness to impair judgment and the ability to make right decisions. What is the teaching in verses 6 and 7 regarding strong drink?
  4. Many of the Proverbs warn us of improper or excessive use of the tongue or speech. Do verses 8 and 9 teach us that there is a proper and responsible time to speak out?

Answers

  1. The identity of King Lemuel is obscure. It is possible that Lemuel was another name for King Solomon, because “Lemuel” in Hebrew means “belonging to God” or “devoted to God” or “dedicated to God.” As was the case with Agur (chapter 30), it is possible that Lemuel was a king in the line of Ishmael.
  2. The subject of the teaching in verse 3 is in the form of a stern warning against sexual immorality, which is not only a sin but which has a debilitating effect on the believer’s body and mind as well.
  3. We believe that verses 6 and 7 support a biblical position that wine and strong drink can be used in appropriate portions for medicinal use to alleviate pain and suffering. Paul, when exhorting his brother in Christ in 1 Timothy 5:23, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” Neither Proverbs 31:6, 7 or 1 Timothy 5:23 are condoning social drinking and should not be used as proof texts for such behavior.
  4. Yes. Verses 8 and 9 to teach us that there are appropriate and responsible times to speak out on behalf of those who have been silenced in some way, or who have been denied their just and biblical rights.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss means or avenues available to believers to advocate for those in need. Consider the possibility that the one who is silenced may be a wife or child in an abusive home, or those who have been denied justice might be a particular neighborhood. Discuss the possibility of establishing a ministry in your church to advocate for the poor and needy.

Challenge

  1. When was the last time you spoke out on behalf of the poor or needy? Have you had the courage to confront those in authority who perpetrate injustice among those who have no way to defend themselves? While it is often valuable to receive godly advice and counsel before defending the needy, we should not shirk our responsibility to “plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Key Verses

  • “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8, 9

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