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What Lemuel learned from his mother (part 2) Another Mother’s Day Sermon May 9, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Mother's Day, Proverbs, Religion, Sermons.

Theme: A man is considered wise when he finds a future-seeking, spiritual woman.
Introduction: Earlier in this chapter we have the instructions of King Lemuel’s mother. Although it is not absolutely certain that this acrostic poem is also from King Lemuel and his mother, the poem follows naturally her instructions.
One of her instructions in verse 3 is not to give your strength to women. The word “strength” is not necessarily speaking of physical strength but rather can refer to military strength, financial strength, administrative strength, in other words that which gives you the ability to accomplish a task.
The word “virtuous” in verses 10 is the exact same word as that in verse 3. In other words, this chapter is saying to young men, do not give your strength to women in riotous living but rather find and marry a woman of strength, a woman who enhances your ability to accomplish what a wise man attempts.
When a man finds such a woman, he can treasure her and trust her because she gladly brings good things into his life (verses 10-13).
He can treasure because she is his most valuable possession. Now I do not mean to use the word “possession” in a demeaning way. What I want us to understand is this: there is nothing that a man has that is more valuable than a strong woman.
The first part of Proverbs 12:4 puts it this way, “An excellent (by the way, this is that word “strong” again) wife is the crown of her husband…” In other words, she brings, through her worth, recognition of his worth. Young men, do want to be admired? Find an excellent wife.
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds something good, And obtains favor from the LORD.” Young men, do you want God to favor you? Find a good wife.
Now how do you find a good wife? First, you find out the characteristics of a good wife and look for them in every young lady who catches your eye. That is part of the purpose of this Mother’s Day sermon, to help young men know what God wants them to be looking for in a wife.
Secondly, seek your wife from God. Proverbs 19:14 says, “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Young men and young women, if ever there is a reason for you not to date the unsaved, this is it. Just as you cannot expect God to give you clean water out of the sewer, you cannot expect God to give you the spouse you need from an unsaved person. I know that God does miracles and I praise Him for every case that has ever worked out and I continue to pray that God will bring the spouses of some of our ladies to the Lord. If, however, you want God to give you a wife or a husband who will enhance your ability to please God and accomplish what he wants you to in this life, you need to narrow the playing field to people who are saved and are serving the Lord.
Not only can a man treasure a strong woman but he can trust her. There are two reasons:
One (verse 12), she only does good to him. She never attempts to hurt him, to cut him down, to manipulate him, to get even with him. By the way, girls, this is also true in finding a strong husband. If that person you are dating continues to hurt or abuse you in some way, break it off. Find someone who only wants to do you good.
Also, her responsibilities as wife and mother bring her pleasure. If you are interested in someone who is always complaining about whatever task they are given, whether it be schoolwork or chores or a job, be kind to them, pray for them, but do not consider them as a partner. Grudging labor will poison your relationship. Find a positive person for your life’s partner.
Now how is it that a strong woman brings good things into the life of her husband? She can do this because she is diligent in her vision for the long-term security of those she loves (verses 14-18).
A strong woman dreams for the future. Many a young lady has a dream for her life. There are ladies who dream of being a princess but a strong woman’s dream go beyond that. There are ladies who dream of being in a safe environment. Young men, look for a young lady whose dreams go beyond a fairy tale wedding day and the protection of her husband, which protection, men you owe to your wife. Look for a lady who dreams for the future of others.
She prepares for the future. Dreams without plans and preparations remain just that dreams. Dreams without plans and preparations are often forgotten. Dreams with plans and preparations have a chance to be fulfilled. You need to talk with your future wife about the future. Find out not only what her dreams our and tell her what your dreams are but discuss how you might bring those dreams to fruition.
She acts for the future. When a merchant wants to make money through shipping, he plans a trip and then he actually carries out his plans. When a farmer buys a farm, he works the land and invests right back into his farm. When a vendor goes to the market, he or she checks their wares for quality and then rises early so that they will not miss one sell. That is the kind of strong woman you young men need to be seeking for.
Her husband is considered wise on her merits because her future-seeking value is evident everywhere (verses 19-24). There is not an area of life where her value is not recognized. Within her family, behind closed doors, the strong woman’s future-seeking value is recognized. The poor are not only aware of it but are cared for by her because her value has given her abundance. The neighborhood sees the evidence of her successful planning. The merchants at the marketplace know all about her value. Verse 23, however, is the kicker. Her husband is esteemed among men of responsibility because of his wife. He is judged on her merit.
Earlier I read the first part of Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,” but the second part is also revealing, “…she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Young men, it does matter what kind of a wife you choose. Your choice of wife shows something about your character and if you choose a short-sighted lady, a lady who does not fear God, a lady who is negative, a lady who cannot be trusted, a lady who is manipulative, a lady who nags to get her way, a lady who fusses and fumes when things do not go her way, you can blame her all you want but your choice reveals your lack of wisdom at the time that you made that choice.
Some think that Paul was too hard to expect that the wives of elders and deacons also be held to a high standard but this is one reason why it is not unreasonable. The actions of the wife reveals the level of spiritual leadership in the husband.
Her future-seeking, spiritual character is praised because it bears fruit (verses 25-31).
Verses 25-27 list the spiritual fruit of a strong woman as if they were a string of jewels hung around her neck, each one glistening in all its glory, reflecting off the others and emanating a beauty as a whole that is much greater than the individual parts.
Now this word for strength is closer to what we normally think of as strength. This woman’s character is seen as spiritually, mentally, emotionally, strong and honorable.
Her end is joy. She may go through tough times but she will rejoice at the end of her life because of the way she lived it.
Her words are wisdom. Her words would reflect the truth of the book of Proverbs. The book is written for young men but young women should learn it also, that they might be able to teach others wisdom.
Her words are kind, merciful, loving according to the law (see 2 Chronicles 35:26). What is the law of kindness? Jesus explained it this way, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” This woman forgives. This woman cares for others, especially those who are her enemies. This woman reflects the love of God.
She is attentive to those under her. She does not ignore her children or her husband or her servants, should she have servants but attends to their needs.
She is not lazy. This certainly has been alluded to throughout this whole passage. This woman does not see life as a vacation to be lived.
She is praised but not for her beauty and charm. Those things can deceive and will not last. No, she is praised because she fears the LORD and her character and the fruit of her life reflects that fear. This is a woman of God, a strong woman, a woman of eternal significance in God’s kingdom, a woman whose spiritual character is an honor to her husband.
Do you fear the LORD? That is really the foundation. We began this series reminding ourselves that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. That means that you are trusting in a God who could and should snuff you out but chooses instead to show you mercy through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus rose from the dead that you might fear Him, that you might trust Him, that you might be saved from your sin. Will you begin your walk in the fear of the LORD today? Will you trust Jesus for forgiveness of sins and begin a new life in Him, a fruitful life and an eternal life, a life who end is guaranteed joy. Be wise today and trust Christ!
NEXT WEEK: Psalm 78:1-11: Why Should We Memorize Scripture?


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