I have decided to start a series on Proverbs 31 because I am a woman, I am a wife, and I am a mother. The 31st chapter of Proverbs has a lot to say about women in general, and wives and mothers in particular! It’s been a while since I looked at this chapter closely, and it has been never since I really savored each verse, meditating and evaluating my heart in light of them. What better time than now?
Although most Proverbs 31 studies seem to begin at the tenth verse — “An excellent wife, who can find?” — I am starting at the very beginning, with King Lemuel’s wise mother. You see, she had an oracle — a burden, a longing, a yearning — for her son. So much so that she taught it to him. And that word translated as “taught” in verse one carries with it the connotation of reproof, discipline, and careful instruction. She was very serious about it, and very serious about making sure he remembered her words. If she lived to see his kingship, then I’m sure she was pleased to learn that he had remembered (of course whether or not he heeded her advice is unknown).
Her words begin:
What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?
I love that.
He was her son. He came from her body. She cherishes that physical connection right from the start, reminding little Lemuel of her tenderness and love for him because he is forever a part of her. Even more, she shares with him her commitment to the Lord concerning him. Lemuel’s mother had apparently made some sort of spiritual vows regarding him, perhaps reminiscent of sweet, barren Hannah‘s, who had been rewarded with a son after years of yearning. Maybe Lemuel’s mom had a similar story, but we’re not told here; we can only speculate. One cool thing I found out is that the name Lemuel means “to God” or “belonging to God,” so it seems that in addition to the wisdom imparted in Proverbs 31:1-9, she wanted his identity to be as one who serves the Lord and who knows well who his Heavenly Father is.
Oh, me too, Mother of King Lemuel. Me too! I prayed for years and years before we were ready to start having kids. I prayed for my children by name, and I begged God for their salvation. I asked that He deny me motherhood, making me barren, if my children would only be destined for wrath by refusing to choose Life. Time will only tell what His complete answer to that prayer will be, but I’m still praying!
I now pray constantly for my little, almost seven-month-old boy, and for his younger brother or sister who is yet to be conceived. (Hopefully, there’s a little egg in there somewhere just waiting for its time!) Lifting up all the normal things a momma lifts up in prayer, I also really harp on that salvation and faithfulness part. It’s part of my vow to God for my children.
Now that I’m a mother, so much of my purpose is wrapped up in my son. May he know well that he is deeply cherished, that he’s forever a part of me, that he is fervently and constantly prayed for, and that he has a purpose!
More on this oracle soon!