Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, July 11, 2016
Today’s Scripture Focus: “Open thy mouth for the dumb In the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8–9).
We are taking a temporary break from our sin recovery principles, which we will continue soon.
Much has been said about the Proverbs 31 woman, and appropriately so. I am afraid, however, that she is so arrestingly desirable that commentators often neglect the context of the entire chapter, accompanying counsel, and the backstory, all of which are particularly helpful in light of our current news cycle.
As you can see in the opening verses, this chapter is excerpted from loving counsel given by King Lemuel (a king of Massa’s) mother on how he should live and rule. She implores him to stay away from froward women who would certainly destroy him. She cautions him against wine and strong drinks, which cause people to forget the law and to pervert justice. Please pay attention here! And then she describes the kind of woman whom any powerful, self-respecting, and holy man would love to have by his side.
If you were paying attention to the text, you would realize that I left out the counsel underscored in our theme text. This loving mother, who was determined to keep her vow to nurture and instruct her son even as he ascended the throne, shared an invaluable lesson we must get, regardless of our station in life, today. She taught him to speak up for those without a voice in society. She taught him to stand up for those that are being subjugated through injustice. She taught him to speak out to defend the rights of the poor and needy. She taught him to administer righteous justice for the downtrodden.
Vision Becomes Reality
What are you teaching those over whom you have influence? What are you modeling and requiring of those in positions of authority in your community and the larger society? Can you imagine what a world we would have if more people stood up against drunkenness, illicit relationships, and injustice? Can you imagine if more people were taught to defend the defenseless? Interestingly, this is not a dream to imagine such. This is not a vision of grandeur. It is not a utopian perspective. It’s just right. It’s just how people should live, even if we struggle with sin sometimes. Notice that King Lemuel’s mother did not say that she was waiting for the day that God would establish justice at the Second Coming (which He will). No. She made it abundantly clear that the king had work to do right then.
What are you doing to effect change and encourage justice right now? Are you using your position of influence to be the change? Are you using voice, pen, vote, TV/radio/Web/social media, hands-on mentorship, or child rearing to effect the changes in the world according to the king’s mother’s counsel? Pray for God to show you how to do so today. As long as injustice exists for anyone and you can observe the fact, you can and must do your part to combat it.