We have a guest blogger today, my wife Simone.
Today there are 2 readings, the first from Proverbs 31:1-9…
Sayings of King Lemuel
The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength on women,
your vigour on those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel –
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for 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.
These words come from a non-Israelite king, who is otherwise unknown. They are words of wisdom from a king to his son and heir, about how to conduct himself as a wise ruler.
Perhaps his son was already showing signs of poor behaviour, for he warns against womanising, drinking too much, and treating the poor and disadvantaged unfairly.
King Lemuel doesn’t just give his son warnings, he provides good reasons for his advice: that a king might forget what laws he is making, or he might “deprive the oppressed of their rights”. Drunkenness is not for wise rulers. It is the job of the king to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”, to stand up for the rights of the destitute, judge fairly and “defend the rights of the poor and needy”.
Such are the noble character traits of a king. But not just for kings. These are character traits of the Almighty King Himself, whom we are called, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to become more like.
Do we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves? Defend the rights of the poor and needy? How can we be more like King Lemuel, and indeed King Jesus, in our actions towards those less fortunate than ourselves?
Our second reading today is Romans 11.
It is way too long to dissect here, so let me leave you with the words of the final verses, a doxology…
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?’
‘Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?’
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory for ever! Amen.
These final verses speak to our King, whose wisdom and mercy we cannot even fathom.
May we ever be thankful that our King is far greater, far more just, and far more glorious than we, or any earthly king could ever be.