Proverbs 31:6,7, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
We have learned in the first five verses of this chapter that King Lemuel's mother has burdened her son with words to carry that are designed to fulfill her vows to God.
Lemuel is the son of her vows, the subject of her vows and she does not take her vows to God lightly.
She knows the law as recorded in Numbers 30:2, If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
As the son of her vows she purposes that he carry them out.
She warns him to not give his strength to women.
Lemuel, do not allow yourself to be under the control of women.
If you are under their control you are not free to serve God.
Your service will be confused, fouled and corrupted.
You will not honor my vows.
She next instructs him to abstain from the drinking of wine and strong drink because he is a king and kings are to have their faculty of judgment unhindered.
Kings are to remember the law at all times and not take that which will cause them to forget the law.
They are to be clear headed and ready to execute justice at all times lest they pervert the judgment of the afflicted.
And in the sixth and seventh verses we see her continue to burden her son the king by instructing him to exercise compassion on those that are ready to perish and those that be of heavy hearts.
She wants her son to be free of control by others so that he may serve God.
She wants her son to have a clear mind with which to exercise justice and she wants her son to be a son of compassion and mercy for those who are perishing.
But not only those who are perishing but those with heavy hearts.
Lemuel, wine and strong drink are not for kings because kings need to remember but wine and strong drink are useful remedies when the forgetting of suffering is called for.
You are to not use wine and strong drink so that you may remember but there are times when you must give it to others so that they may forget.
You are not to waste wine on self indulgence which will only result in perverting your judgment of the afflicted but you are to use it on those who really require it.
That which I tell you to deny yourself use to serve others!
Wine and strong drink is not for kings, Lemuel, but your denial of self can result in the giving of wine and strong drink in an act of mercy and compassion.
She instructs him to, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
She describes one who is ready to perish, she describes one who is close to death, she describes one who is in extreme suffering.
Relieve the suffering with that which causes one to forget, she tells him.
Don't prolong the suffering if it is within your power to help the sufferer forget his suffering.
Apply that which helps those who suffer to forget their suffering.
Don't hesitate to use that which God supplies for the relief of the poverty and misery of those who are suffering.
Because of the times she lived in her remedy was limited to strong drink for those in this predicament.
She did not have the drugs and medicines that we have today.
We live in an age where we have a vast array of forgetting remedies.
Jesus Christ in Luke 33 tells us that a Samaritan had the same mind as Lemuel’s mother in meeting a particular need of the man who fell among thieves and was stripped of his raiment and wounded and left half dead.
The priest and the Levite, not wishing to corrupt themselves with the blood of this man, pretended to themselves that they did not see his naked and bleeding body alongside the road.
Jesus saw that they saw him but if they passed by on the other side they could say that they did not see him.
This was all played out in their heart which Jesus Christ knew.
They played games with themselves to justify their hard heart.
But the Samaritan's mother perhaps taught him the principle of what Lemuel’s mother had vowed for her son.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Give to those in need. Give to those that are perishing and be of a heavy heart.
Don't ignore those who are suffering by pretending that there is no suffering.
Strong drink was not called for, drinking wine was not called for in this case.
But compassion and mercy was called for this half dead man.
Cleaning his wounds by pouring his oil and wine was called for.
Binding up his wounds and covering his nakedness was called for.
For when the Samaritan saw the poor man ready to perish he did not feign ignorance of his condition as the priest and the Levite but:
when he saw him, (as we read in Luke 10:33-35) he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spends more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
He did not ignore the need or simply express conscience smothering sympathy for the poor man but he excercised wisdom to meet the particular need.
The Samaritan did not think of himself as did the priest and the Levite!
He thought of the one perishing.
He thought of the one who had the need and he cared not for his oil or his wine or his own clothing he wasted in the binding up of a stranger's bloody wounds and in covering his nakedness.
He cared not for the two days wages he left with the host of the inn.
He cared not for the whatsoever thou spends more that he authorized the host to spend.
Cart Blanche, whatever it takes, he said!
The skies the limit for the man who needs compassion and mercy.
Can compassion be limited, can mercy have boundaries?
That is the lesson that Lemuel’s mother was teaching.
Deny wine and strong drink to yourself son but that which you deny yourself use on those that are in need.
Deny control by women and use that freedom to serve God.
Deny yourself time for yourself but use your time to serve others.
Deny selfish pleasures but take those resources to serve others.
Deny yourself wine and strong drink but take the wine and strong drink to help those who perish and are of a heavy heart.
For there is no virtue in self denial for self denial's sake.
Virtue in self denial comes only in using that which is denied to serve others as you serve God in the fulfillment of my vows.
She says, give not your strength to women.
Give not yourself wine and strong drink, but give mercy and compassion to those who are ready to perish and those of a heavy heart.