Proverbs 31:1-9 Part 4
We’ve looked at these 9 verses exclusively from the vantage point of the Believer’s destiny to rule and reign with Christ. And therefore the call to live NOW with that royal glory as just before us. And that in 3 critical areas.
In fact, passages like this one need to be peeled, a bit like an onion.
In this case, in 3 layers.
The first layer is that which most plainly lays on the surface – this portion is first of all the words of Lemuel’s mother regarding 3 key areas of his personal behavior regarding his ability to rule and reign as a GOOD king, righteously.
The initial application then being to any who are given places of responsibility with authority over others.
In vss. 2-3 / One needs to have clear commitment to MORALITY. In this case specifically, sexual morality – since it is central to morality as a whole.
Secondly in vss. 4-7 / One needs to avoid those INFLUENCES which might skew their judgement. Specifically in this case – she cites intoxicating drinks.
Lastly 8 & 9, she admonishes him to not forget to guard the rights of those who cannot speak up for and defend themselves – the mute, destitute, poor and needy. To speak up for them and secure JUSTICE for them.
Now our work in interpreting such a passage is not done unless we move beyond mere moral and ethical considerations, and move into the spiritual application to the Church.
Being destined for that exalted place one day, we wanted to see how these same admonitions apply to us.
What it means because of OUR royal calling.
To be a People who walk in moral uprightness – displaying Christ.
Being clear headed and sober-minded through the influence of the Holy Spirit instead of the myriad of earthly intoxicants or influences which might skew our judgement.
And last to be those who also seek justice in this world, while lifting up our voices in preaching to Gospel to and interceding in prayer for those who are spiritually mute, destitute, poor and needy.
How to conduct ourselves as Christ’s Church especially in this lost and broken world.
For we have never fully understood any passage until something of Christ and His glory is revealed to us.
We are reminded of Jesus’ own words in this regard: John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
And again after His resurrection with the 2 on the road to Emmaus: Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
One of the most destructive patterns that can creep into the Church is when we teach the Bible as collection of moral or ethical lessons, instead of digging deep enough to discover the revelation of Christ – the Glory of God in it.
The Bible is not a book of good advice, or even of simply “Christian” ethics – it is first and foremost God’s self-revelation, culminating in Jesus Christ.
If all the Bible is to you is good advice – you can learn every one of its ethical precepts and carry them out to the fullest – and still die and lose your soul in an eternal Hell.
This is absolutely vital to understand. A matter of literal life and death.
One more brief word of introduction.
One of the things the Bible often does is mix its metaphors.
It does this to tease out other and complimentary truths about the same thing.
EXAMPLE: Jesus is both the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb slain for sinners.
EXAMPLE: John 10: Jesus is the DOOR of the Sheepfold (7); He is “the Good Shepherd” (11); He enters BY the door (vs 2) but also IS the Door AND the Shepherd who enters.
When we do not allow for this mixing of metaphors, we run the danger of absolutizing them.
For instance, we know that Eph. 2 notes that sinners are DEAD in their trespasses and sins. And so they are. But not SO dead that they are not to be preached to, lived righteously before, reasoned with from the Scriptures and still morally responsible for their thoughts and actions.
So in this passage.
We’ve looked at how we are destined to be Kings ruling and reigning WITH Christ, but the Bible also uses a different metaphor to round out some of these ideas. One which will play a major role in the rest of this chapter – though we want to apply it in these 9 verses right now.
SO – While we ARE called to rule and reign with Him – The passage also piques our interest in considering the same three things we’ve already seen, and how they apply to Christ Himself in HIS kingly role.
- vss. 1-2 / Jesus Christ our King is Absolutely FAITHFUL to His Own.
He is not promiscuous with His love, but is EXCLUSVELY betrothed to and committed to – but ONE BRIDE, not many.
2 Corinthians 11:2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
This notion of Christ’s exclusive relationship with His Church – His people, begs 2 very important applications.
- It is common in our culture today to hear that all religions are basically the same.
That God does not discriminate against any religion or approach to Him.
But this is not the testimony of Scripture.
And that Jesus makes VERY exclusive claims is beyond question.
Just before His betrayal, as Jesus was talking with His disciples He said:
John 14:2–4 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
Thomas, in his guileless way says in response: John 14:5 “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
To which Jesus responds: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am THE way, and THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Where I am going is to God the Father.
And the Way to get to Him is BY ME – I AM The Way to Him.
The truth of all of this is wrapped up in ME.
The Disciples clearly understood this reality. For instance, Matthew notes Jesus saying in His Gospel: Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
And John therefore records Jesus saying that everything had been given to Jesus by the Father,: John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
And then later in his own epistle John writes: 1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
To go to God, one must acknowledge His Son AS the Son, or remain lost.
- How He is faithfully committed to His own so that He will never leave us, lose us or fail to complete the work He has begun in us.
John 6:35–39 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
The Faithfulness of Jesus Christ is central to our salvation.
If you are a Christian today, you are one because He is faithful to complete the Father’s Will, which includes saving and preserving those given to Him by the Father.
- vss. 4-7 / Jesus Christ our King is UNERRINGLY Wise in all His dealings with us.
In Him dwells all the fullness of God bodily. (Col. 2:9)
He IS the very Wisdom of God Himself. (Col. 2:3)
He is never swayed by anything other than His own perfect knowledge, which in omniscience is absolutely comprehensive, and in His justice and perfection never fails to do what it perfect and upright and just.
Not a few Christians here have gone through trials and tribulations in their lives, where they wondered if there was any rhyme or reason to it.
And our assurance is that because Christ Jesus our Savior is sovereign over His universe, there is ALWAYS perfect wisdom behind the circumstances of our lives.
Even when the Enemy of our souls attacks us, we can know nothing can happen to us but by His divine permission, and that by His blood there is nothing He cannot and does not redeem for our ultimate, good, blessing and happiness if we will but trust Him in it.
Romans 8:35–37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:28–30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Note that first sentence – this we KNOW.
We don’t surmise it, or merely Hope it, – we KNOW it!
Not because “things” themselves just “always work out” but because the Christ who saved us by His blood is at work in us, bringing us safely to the Father, and that, so that we might one day appear without spot or blemish – but be completely conformed to His glorious image.
Some of that work in us is painful, difficult, complex and long term – but He will use all of Creation and every personality and circumstance around us to bring it to completion.
Oh what a mighty Savior we serve!
And how that flows right into this 3rd application.
- Jesus Christ our King is perpetually raising His voice in administrating justice, AND, interceding for His saints.
We do not have time to develop the nature of Jesus’ administration of justice this morning, if we are to look a little more carefully at His intercession – which I plan to do today.
Perhaps we can revisit this area another time.
So let’s note then the wonder of Christ’s intercession for His Redeemed Ones.
First notice how His blood is more than sufficient for all of our sins!
1 John 2:1–2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
But then secondly, His pleading on our behalf.
Hebrews 7:22–25 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
He is our Great Advocate and Intercessor.
In our sinfulness we need an Advocate – one who can vouch for our righteousness because it is His own righteousness imputed to us.
And one who continues to pray for us, to intercede before the Father’s throne on our behalf.
Christian, have you ever stopped to think that you are the topic of discussion between God the Father and God the Son?
That in that discussion, Christ is your great champion, never ceasing to ask the Father for the riches of His grace to be poured out on you?
He is! This is a staggering truth.
If no one else in all the world is praying for you Believer, if you think yourself all alone and abandoned – remember this: Jesus Christ THINKS of you and ever lives to lovingly and personally carry you and your needs to God the Father – without ceasing.
Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
When Jesus pleads for his people, his pleas are omnipotent, and God will never deny to his Son the reward of his soul-travail. I suppose that, in heaven, Christ pleads for his people vocally, but it is not at all needful that he should; for his very presence there is an irresistible plea. If someone were pleading before an earthly court, and if he had been an old soldier, and had rendered valiant service to his country, if he were to bare his breast, and show the scars of the wounds that he received in battle, he would not have to say much, for his scars would plead better than any words could; and Jesus in heaven lifts his hand and feet, and shows his piercèd side. His scarred person, still adorned with the marks of his passion and death, is an everlasting and overwhelming plea. If Jesus pleads for me, can his Father reject me? If so, he must also reject his Son, he must refuse the authoritative requests of his only-begotten and well-beloved Son he must deny to Jesus that which he well deserves; and that he never can do. O believer, if you still have any doubts about your acceptance in Christ, let them fly before this fourth mighty blow, “who also maketh intercession for us.”
Jesus Christ our King is FAITHFUL to us in all He does
He sovereignly rules our lives and all of creation in perfect wisdom
And He intercedes for us with the Father – unceasingly and unerringly.
What a glorious King He is to His People!
 C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 53; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1907), 571.