Good morning. If you thought getting up to preach was intimidating. Try getting up to preach on Mother’s Day, with your mother present to listen to you. To all the mothers present today. Thank you so much for bringing us into this world and for raising us. What I would like to do today is to explore a famous passage in scripture that describes a godly woman and mother. Proverbs 31 is the last chapter of the book of proverbs, and speaks about a mother, woman, and wife of noble character.
The first 9 verses of the chapter.
“The saying of King Lemuel-and oracle his mother taught him: “O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish: let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
When children are under the mother's eye, she has the opportunity to raise them on the path that they should go. (Proverbs 22:6) Once they are grown they will rely on their experience and lessons taught to them as children. The many awful instances of promising characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine, should warn everyone to avoid these evils (David and Solomon anyone?). Wine is to be used for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine, though abused, has its use. (All things in moderation) By this rule, we should be encouraging the dejected and those under temptations, but not those who already have courage and confidence. All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or afraid to plead their own cause. (James 3:1) Our blessed Lord did not decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest distress.
Now before a woman is a mother, she is typically a wife to a husband. The rest of the chapter describes this and brings it full circle to motherhood (10-31)
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she hold the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hangs to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clother with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her.
1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good.
2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not.
3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. (Example in person who decided to build a tower and did not count the cost and bring it into salvation?)
4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. (Raise up a child again)
5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. Example of a cheerful giver?
6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world.
7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts forever.
8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she did what she was called to do when she was young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her.
Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. God gave us our mothers not only for the biological and physical reasons for us to be here today, but as half of the teaching team that He has ordained to train us and to teach us about Him before we head out into the world, as well as continually provide advice and assistance as we continue down our individual paths. Thank you Mom and to the other mothers here. Let us pray.
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