"It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more." (vs4-7)
Intoxication is not for the godly, but for those who have no hope in Christ. Believer’s have the Comforter, and God tells us “no” for our good and the benefit of others. We are sober minded so that others can be saved, “lest [we] drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted”. If I think that God is being cruel or strict without reason, then I’m frustrated, discontent, and sinful. But, when I see that He is sparing both me and others, saying “no” to ungodliness isn’t a burden (1 John 5:1-5).
God’s given us wine and other things to use in moderation, but never in excess, and we don’t need too much of anything (1 Tim 4:1-5). We have joy as we honor the gospel, and our best life is judging wisely and being useful to others. We read, “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judged righteously, and plead the cause of the needy” (vs8-9). Heed these words of Lemuel’s mother. She taught him wisdom, and we’re to use her knowledge. She taught him, “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways t that which destroys kings”. We’re to be in this world but not of it (John 17:14-16). Give yourself to a godly woman, but don’t give your strength to sexual misconduct. The gospel is what you need, not the illicit arms of another, and God will give you the peace of righteousness! Honoring God in the gospel and helping others is a great and rewarded life. Choose temperance because it comes with God’s blessing, and reject what He forbids because it causes personal uselessness and hurts others.
Secondly, the godly woman is here before us, and Proverbs 31:10-31 also describes the character of the church. We read, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; she will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (vs10-12). Just as the church is subject to Christ, even so the woman is to her husband, so there are CLEAR comparisons between the two. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything”. Let’s examine both the godly wife and the believer’s relationship to our Lord.
She does Him good and not evil, so that God’s people love the Lord Jesus Christ, devoting ourselves to Him. The Song of Solomon describes us as “black but comely”, and we are beautiful to the Lord for our devotion (Song 1:5). We commit ourselves to Him, even to the death, and we forsake all others, obeying His teaching from the heart. Likewise, the godly woman has her husband’s back. She is no fault finder, sitting on her hands while he works hard, but she cares for her husband, her house, and she is a devoted following of his will. Titus 2:3-5 says, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, homemakers, good, subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed”. She WILLINGLY takes the place of submission, even though she is equal to her husband in God’s eyes, because the church submits to Christ.
If you have such a woman, then praise her and thank God, because she is a RARE jewel upon the earth, and the most beautiful thing that God can give a man. Martin Luther described his wife, saying, “The greatest gift of God is a pious amiable spouse, who fears God, loves His house, and with whom one can live in perfect confidence.” To have a godly wife who cares for you, follows you, and forgives you is a great help to any man! She is a blessing, not made by the will of man, but by God giving her salvation, and then giving her to a man to care for his needs. She’s a blessing because her character is most important, so let us praise and admire this inward beauty (1 Pet 3:1-6)! The gospel makes women like this, even in this “modern age”, and until the world ends, even if others mock our “old fashioned ways”, God will still be honoring husbands with women who imitate the church’s submission to Christ.
Finally, this godly woman knows her value, and she labors in hope (vs13-18). She is not overcome by distresses because she walks by faith, receives the reconciliation, and she knows that her labors are not in vain. Lemuels’ mother taught him, “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night”. She is confident in Christ but not proud and vain with self-admiration. She works for others because she is forgiven, blessed, and accepted. She doesn’t labor for approval because that would be bondage, but knowing God’s love in Christ, she knows that her submission and care for her home pleases Him.
This is also the church’s character as a whole. We are not bowed down with sins, but the Lord has loosed us. There was a woman in Luke 13:10-13 who could not lift herself up and was bent over with numerous burdens, “But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity!’ And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God”. He took away our sinfulness, suffering for it Himself, and He’s given us righteousness by faith, so that we walk in uprightness with clean consciences (Heb 9:14-15). We now have dignity, and we’re no longer degraded with fear and doubt. The godly woman, like the church, SERVES the Lord, and she knows it’s good.