1 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
Nothing is definitively known about King Lemuel, even though unproven legend suggests that Lemuel may have actually a pseudonym for King Solomon and that his mother was actually David’s wife, Bathsheba. In any case, the king’s mother solemnly warns her son about wasting his energy in the pursuit of ruinous women. Sound advice for any age.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
In addition to avoiding self-indulgent sensuality, the king’s mother warns him to avoid drunkenness. She says that beer and wine are for those who want to forget their misery, not for those who are focused on leading with wisdom and justice.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Rather than indulging vice, the king is encouraged to invest himself in more noble pursuits. Specifically, those with authority are called to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, to defend the rights of the poor and needy, and to judge fairly to insure that the “least of these” are treated with compassion and justice. This is what a true leader looks like.
Prayer: High King of Heaven, as your sons and daughters, we have inherited a royal birthright in Christ and are called to live lives worthy of the position you’ve given us.
Indeed, you have said that one day we will reign with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12).
So today, let me practice divine grace, mercy, and wisdom.