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Proverbs 31 Introduction

We begin a series today covering Proverbs 31: words of a mother to her son. Without the backstory it’s just a list of character traits for women struggling to achieve, often with little success. Let’s dig into the heart of this writing by examining the life of King Solomon.

He was the son of King David and Bathsheba, loved by the LORD (2 Sam. 12:24), and called God’s chosen son (1 Chron. 28:6). He had three names, did you know that? Solomon, meaning complete, Jedidiah, beloved, and Lemuel, dedicated to God; we see that this king was destined for greatness from God’s perspective. His assignment was to build God’s permanent dwelling place among His people and he began his quest with humility, prayer, and the wisdom of God.

His father taught and also warned him regarding kingship and his mother instructed him in character, therefore he wrote:

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Proverbs 1:8 NLT

The problem was Solomon didn’t practice what he preached. It’s believed he wrote the book of Proverbs in the prime of his life when he reached the pinnacle of popularity, prosperity, and success. The fire of the presence of God had fallen on the temple (2 Chron. 7: 1-3) and his assignment was completed as his name indicated. Later in life, as he slid into sexual immorality, alcohol, and idolatry he penned the lament of Ecclesiastes: life is meaningless. If he’d only reread what he wrote earlier:

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Proverbs 9:10 NLT

This final chapter of Proverbs is identified as Bathsheba’s burden. She, as his mother, carried this weight as she watched her son, Lemuel, the one she had dedicated to God, slide into a lifestyle of brokenness. He didn’t live up to his name, wholeness, because he left his first love: God.

The first nine verses of Pv. 31 proceed from a mother’s heart, questioning his choices and warning him. She cries out three times, “What are you doing?!” Paraphrased, “Have you lost your mind?!” I’m sure her heart was crying out, “Don’t fall for Satan’s traps; you’re a king and loved by God!” “Put your time, energy and attention on justice for your people not on yourself.” “You are God’s beloved son, Jedediah.”

You don’t have to be a wife or mother to feel the passion.

Bathsheba’s words, written as an acrostic poem (verses 10-31), paint a picture of a woman of God using a style that covers a subject from A-Z: acrostic. Each verse begins alphabetically, with the sequential Hebrew letter focusing on a word or phrase; I’ll use that first word to give added meaning to this Proverbs 31 woman who is full of Jesus.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.
1 Corinthians 1:30a NLT

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