Proverbs 31 is most famous for its description of the ideal biblical woman. But the first nine verses of this well-known chapter are actually focused on the behavior of godly male leaders. The unknown king, Lemuel, is told by his royal mother to beware of two common temptations of youth: immorality (v. 3) and drunkenness (vv. 4-5). Godly men will be men of one woman, not guys with lots of girlfriends. They will also not let their thinking be clouded by alcohol. Instead, they will focus their thoughts and actions on leading people wisely and using their authority to do justice for all. Godly male leaders will especially seek to defend and help the weak, poor, and needy (vv. 8-9).
Today’s passage is similar to the pastoral requirement passages of the New Testament like 1 Timothy 3:1-7. While the emphasis in such passages is on describing a godly leader, the character traits given are traits that all Christians should seek to attain. As middle school students, you do not need girlfriends or boyfriends right now. The best case scenario for middle school dating is lots of stress and drama, while the worst case is getting into trouble that you don’t want to be in. Please be wise and wait until late high school or college. When you are older, you will have a better understanding of who you are as a person and a follower of Jesus Christ. You will be stronger in your convictions and character and know better what to look for in a godly girlfriend or boyfriend. As far as alcohol, you are years away from it even being legal for you, so just stay away from it. Once you are 21, then you can make an informed biblical decision either to still leave it alone (the wisest and safest course, in NRCA’s opinion) or to use it only in moderation; drunkenness should never be an option for Christians (Ephesians 5:18).
In avoiding the common sins of youth, you will be freed up to enjoy the abundant life in Christ that God wants you to have. You can learn how to seek and do God’s will. You can use your middle and high school years as a great time to mature in your faith, develop your interests and skills, and build healthy relationships with friends and adults. What a better way to live!
The Text (Proverbs 31:1-9)
1 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:
2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?
3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Questions to Think About
- Assuming that they want what is best for you, why do think that your teachers and parents keep telling you to wait until late high school or college to begin dating? What do they know that you don’t?
- Why do you think that so many young people are tempted to drink alcohol? How can you protect yourself from that temptation?
Note: Verses 6-7 are not encouraging alcohol as a good solution to depression and poverty. Instead, the author is simply observing that some people will foolishly turn to alcohol in an attempt to drown out their sorrows. The godly person, however, will find joy in obeying God’s Holy Spirit within them, not in abusing alcohol (Ephesians 5:19).