The Wise Words Lemuel’s Mother Taught Him
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Text: Proverbs 31: 1, 10-31
Linda, Karla, Sarah and I had the privilege of visiting England in 2002. One of places we enjoyed visiting was Olney England. It was there that we visited the Newton-Cowper Museum and the Church that John Newton Pastored for many years. John Newton was one of England’s most prominent preachers in his day. Further, it was in this little garden cottage that Newton likely composed his most famous hymn, "Faith’s Review And Expectation." Now, I know that many of you are thinking, "I have never heard of that song!" That’s correct. You likely have never heard of that song under that name, however I venture to guess that most everyone has heard of "Amazing Grace." That is the "newer name" by which we know the song today.
However, you need to know some of the history of John Newton the famous hymn writer and prominent preacher. He had been a very rebellious teenager. He had run away from home to become a sailor. John quickly became an ungodly, vile, wicked man, who was disowned by his father, and everyone who knew him, because he was such a wicked wretch. He became the cruel captain of a slave ship and ended up being a slave himself for a time. He was known as "The Great Blasphemer."
But, how did Newton go from being such a reprobate to a man mightily used of God. I attribute it to the grace of God and the prayers of John Newton’s mother. "Day and night Mama Newton kept praying that God would save, and use her wayward boy. She believed in only two things: the power of prayer, and the conversion of her son. ‘Mama Newton’ as she was called, was a lady that all the children in the neighborhood wanted as their mother. She had hair like a halo of silver, hands worn with calluses, and cheeks that were stained by tears. Everyday, and every night, you would find Mama Newton crying, and praying, over her washtub, in a room of poverty, for her son John." (Knight’s Book of Master Illustrations., Eerdmans., 1956.)
Years after her death, her prayers were answered! John repented and turned to Christ as his Savior. My point is simple. A godly mother has a powerful influence on her children, just as King Lemuel’s mother had on him. We are going to examine some of the characteristics of an excellent wife and mother.
Just a side note: In the original Hebrew I found it interesting that each verse from 10 to the end of the chapter begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet: Pro_31:10, א aleph; Pro_31:11, ב beth; Pro_31:12, ג gimel; and so on to the end of the chapter, the last verse of which has the letter ת tau.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price (value) is far above rubies." v.10
This verse makes it clear good women are heard to find! But, for a moment, I want you to think where a man might find a virtuous, honorable, moral woman? I can tell you that you will not likely find one at a bar, or a rock concert or even calling a dating line. The best place to find a good woman is in a Bible believing church, or church camp, Christian college or a place where good Christians gather. However, be on guard! Just because you meet a woman at one of these places, it does not always mean that they are dedicated Christians. Although, it is more likely that you will find a virtuous woman in the context where virtue is preached, taught and practiced.
Men, remember. If you find a virtuous woman, remember her value -- "…her price (value) is far above rubies."
A number of years ago, a large Eastern paper was asked to help a woman’s club group choose the twelve greatest women in the United States. After due consideration, the editors replied, "The twelve greatest women in the United States are women who have never been heard of outside of their own homes!" I believe that is true. Our Nation is in desperate need of virtuous wives and mothers. It is my prayer for the girls and women who hear this message, that you will allow God to work in your lives and mold you into a virtuous woman.
We don’t need more Martha Stewards, Hillary Clintons or Kaite Courics! We need more godly, virtuous women.
In verse 13 we see that she is a motivated woman, for she "worketh willingly…" The woman who loves God, loves her husband and loves her family is a hard worker. No one has to push her or prod her.
In verse 15 we see that she is a dedicated woman. We read, "She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens." Being a mother is a BIG job! I read some statistics that say that mom’s works on an average on 12 hours a day. Being a mom is work!
Turn to verse 19. In this verse we see that a godly mother is a diligent woman. She is always doing something in her waking hours. Even when my wife is sitting in her chair, she is balancing the check book, sorting the mail, knitting or something else beneficial.
A godly woman is a motivated woman, a dedicated woman and a diligent woman.
In verse 26 we see that a godly mother is wise in what she says. "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." A godly mother should be listened to because she speaks words of wisdom, words of help, and words of truth. This is stressed over and over again in the book of Proverbs (1:8; 6:20; 30:11,17).
In verse 27 we see that there is wisdom in what she avoids. Note the phrase, "eateth not the bread of idleness." Having too much unoccupied, unproductive time on you hands can get you into trouble.
recognize her and "call her blessed." 28a
Her husband praises her. 28b
Her father recognizes her faithfulness and success with the home and family. 29
Verse 30 simply states that true beauty is from within, and the woman that fears God will be blessed by Him.
Perhaps the best illustration of what I am referring to can be seen in Acts 9:36, ff, the death of a lady named Dorcas. After she died, and was buried, the widows gave a display of the coats and garments she had made for the poor. Even after her death, the fruit of her hands lived on.
What this world needs, in fact, what our homes need, is not more sexy women, not more women CEO’s, or more liberated women but rather, more virtuous women who fear God.
Take up the challenge ladies! Strive to be a Proverbs