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Proverbs 31:1,2, The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
This thirty first chapter of the book of Proverbs is recorded by a king named Lemuel (lem-oo-ale'; or Lemow'el, lem-o-ale).
It is a name that means "belonging to God."
It is also a symbolic name of Solomon and some believe that this chapter was in fact written by Solomon.
Some have suggested that Lemuel (lem-oo-ale) was Bathsheba's name for Solomon, but this is just a guess and has no biblical foundation.
In any case it is a record of a mother's instruction to her son and can be accepted as that part of Proverbs that is written by a woman.
Among other things her instruction to her son is about the female character.
It is important instruction for any son because it prepares the son with the right knowledge that is needed in choosing a wife and mother of his children.
The instruction was effective instruction because it was caught by Lemuel (lem-oo-ale).
He remembered the instruction enough to record it for our learning.
The teaching stuck to Lemuel (lem-oo-ale) and influenced Lemuel.
We know it was effective teaching on the part of his mother because her words became his words.
Her prophecy became his prophecy.
In most places in scripture the Hebrew word that is translated prophecy in this verse is translated burden.
It is the same word translated burden in the minor prophets and the many uses of the word burden in the book of Isaiah.
We do not usually equate the word prophecy with the word burden but what Lemuel’s mother has given to Lemuel (lem-oo-ale) is in reality a burden rather than what we think of as a prophesy.
Lamentations 3:27 says, It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
In other words it is good for a young man to bear burdens in his youth.
It is good for a young man to carry things.
It is good to put a load on a young man.
This is the essence of what Lemuel (lem-oo-ale) is talking about.
His mother put a load of words upon him.
He learned lessons from his mother and he now carries those lessons as king.
They are a burden to him in that sense.
Not a hard burden but a welcome burden, a good burden, because as with carrying any burden good results come because the burden was carried.
That is a mother's responsibility, to put a burden upon her children.
It is a mother's responsibility to load her children with words that stick with her children as they grow into manhood and womanhood.
Line upon line, precept upon precept.
Loading lines upon other lines.
Piling precepts upon precepts upon her children as it were a burden.
It is not enough that a young man bear only physical burdens in his youth but it is paramount that his mother load him with the right mental desires, ie, burdens, that will keep him in the way he should go.
It is good that a young man bear the yoke, bear the burden in his youth.
Jesus Christ said in Mat 11:30, For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
What is the burden of Christ? His burden is his word.
His word is light, not heavy and when applied to youth it is most light.
Training applied to youth is where training is most successful.
God's word applied to youth is where God's word is most successful.
That is the time of life when the burden is best introduced to the child.
That is what King Lemuel’s (lem-oo-ale) mother believed as she said in
Proverbs 31:2, What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
What should I tell you? How should I instruct you?
You are my very own son that came from my womb.
There is no closer physical relation given of God to man than a mother to her son or daughter.
You are from my very own flesh.
You are the son of my vows, my prayers.
I have dedicated you to God and now I must instruct you, I must burden you with that which is right and honoring to those vows.
I have vowed and I now must put deeds to those vows.
I must act so that my vows will be carried to successful conclusions.
My vows have placed burdens upon me and I must now share those burdens with my son Lemuel (lem-oo-ale) if my vows are to be honoring to God.
Did not Hannah put feet to her vows when she brought Samuel (shem-oo-ale' heard of God) to the temple after the child was weaned:
1 Samuel 1:11, And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
She said: I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
What were the burdens she put on Samuel in those three or so years that she had with him before he was turned over to Eli?
They were the burdens impressed of the LORD.
They were the burdens of the word of God.
They were the line upon line, precept upon precept that Hannah loaded on the little shoulders of Samuel.
Burdens such that when he was taken to the house of the LORD in Shiloh and given over to the service of God he would have the wherewithal to serve God faithfully.
They were successful burdens measured out in accordance with her vows.
Her vow to God had given her rearing of Samuel an urgency to diligence in teaching him the right precepts and the right lines upon which to build a life of service to God.
These are not the kind of burdens that are lifted at Calvary but burdens designed to bring the child to the Jesus Christ of Calvary.
Lemuel’s mother knew that if she were to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord the burden of the word of God was required to be planted firmly upon her son.