Digging in Deeper: Proverbs 31:3-4; 8-9

“Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink. . .Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Do you want to live like a king?  Who doesn’t?  And yet, what exactly does it mean to live like a king?  Most cultures certainly have an answer to that question.  It means getting to be wealthy.  It mean getting to have whatever–or whomever–you want.  It means getting to do whatever you want.  It means getting to go to neat places and meet amazing people.  It means getting to live like…well…a king.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Such a life, though, is truly reserved for a very few.  Access to the kinds of resources in the kinds of volumes necessary to achieve such ends is something only a tiny percentage of the population ever really achieves.

What if, though, there was a way to live like a king that anyone could achieve?  What if we turned the whole concept of living like a king on its head and made it more about character than resources and opportunities?  That’s certainly the advice King Lemuel’s mother gave to him.  In these verses she offers three pieces of advice aimed at helping him live like the king he was.  If we follow them, we can live similarly like kings and queens.

First, don’t play around with sex.  Keep it in its proper context (namely, as an intimate delight shared between a husband and wife).  Sex is a gift from God.  There’s really no question about this in the Scriptures.  It is also a powerful gift.  It is so powerful, in fact, that if misused in even the tiniest amount, the consequences can be devastating.  Not a few men (and even some women) have been destroyed because they have “given their strength to women.”

I suspect the news cycle of the last few months would look rather different if a few more people had followed this advice.  The men who have been felled by accusals of sexual misconduct have been living like kings according to the culture’s definition, but haven’t had the character necessary to maintain such a position.

Second, don’t sink yourself in a bucket of alcohol.  From the Scriptures, I don’t find anything inherently sinful about drinking alcohol.  Some followers of Jesus make principled arguments why it should not be consumed by Christians all the same, but this is not a Scripturally-required position.  All the same, if you want to live like a king, limiting your consumption is wise.

Broadening this principle out some, don’t put yourself in a dependent relationship with anything.  Depend wholly on Christ and learn to trust people to a certain extent, but no thing should ever be your master.  Why give control of yourself over to something that isn’t alive?  Kings are always in control of themselves.  Make sure you are as well.  Better  yet, make sure you are in control of that one who truly is the King.

Third, pursue justice and speak for those who don’t have a voice.  This is perhaps the most important part of living like a king.  Because of their position, kings necessarily speak for those who have no public voice of their own.  If we want to live like a king, we must make such a thing our goal as well.  Even though your resources and position might be limited, still, there are in all likelihood those who don’t have the same advantages and opportunities that you do.  How can you leverage what you have for their benefit?

Living like a king–like the King–is much more about character than opportunities.  Because of that, it is a lifestyle that is available to anyone.  Will you choose to live it?

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