The Proverbs 31 Mother
The greatly used evangelist, D. L. Moody, said this about the influence of his mother, “All I have ever accomplished in life I owe to my mother.” I hope you can say that about your mother. Moody’s mother like all mothers was not perfect but D. L. Moody allowed her to be used of God to mold his life for ministry. The kingly author of Proverbs 31, King Lemuel, also praises his mother’s influence in his life. What the king says fits well with the message of the book of Proverbs: Wisdom for godly living.
The king gives the godly advice of his mother in Proverbs 31:1-9. Then he provides her godly example in 31:10-31. Both her words and life were powerfully used by God.
Wisdom in Proverbs is personified as a godly woman who is pursuing you and to whom you should listen as in Proverbs 1:20-26. In Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman is godly wisdom in the flesh. What is personified in 1:20-26 is a person in 31:10-31. The author is telling young men to pursue a virtuous woman like you pursue godly wisdom.
Foolishness in Proverbs is also personified but as an adulterous woman who is also pursuing you and to whom you should not listen. In Proverbs 9:13-18, the foolish woman is to be avoided and not listened to. Both Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly stand at the crossroads of your life calling to you to follow them. You must choose between wisdom and foolishness.
From this personification of wisdom we learn that wisdom is relational and social. Wisdom comes from three important relationships in described in Proverbs.
1. Wisdom comes from fearing the Lord.
The author has come full circle. In Proverbs. In 1:7, he records the theme of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Now at the end of Proverbs he states that the crowning virtue of the virtuous woman is the fact that she fears the Lord in 31:31. The fear of the Lord is the Old Testament way of describing salvation. Even in the New Testament, Paul admonished Timothy to “continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; and that from a child you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”(2 Timothy 3:14-15). Trusting Christ as your Savior is the wisest decision you will ever make.
2. Wisdom comes from obeying you parents.
In 1:8-9, Solomon writes, “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother.” The author comes full circle again in 31:1-9 with advice reminiscent of chapters 1-9. In chapters 1-9, Solomon gives 15 “My Son” talks to his son. Here in 31:1-9, is a mother’s “My Son” talk. These “My Son” talks are full of wisdom.
3. Wisdom comes from developing godly friendships.
In 1:10, 15 Solomon warns of the danger of ungodly friendships. In Proverbs 31:10-31, the author challenges each young man to choose as his lifelong friend a virtuous woman.