Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Children learn many things simply by watching. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Moms, you will never be able to govern your children effectively if you can’t govern your own passions. And you won’t be able to teach your children sobriety and temperance and self-control if you’re not a model of sobriety and temperance and self-control.

Leslie: It’s Tuesday, February 13th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Isn’t it shocking to hear some negative thing come out of your child’s mouth and then you realize they learned those things from you? Since kids pick up so much so quickly, we’d better learn how to set a good example. Nancy’s showing us how in a series called The Counter-cultural Woman.

Nancy: What are the very most important things that you want your children to remember? When they’re grown, when they’re gone from your home, what do you want them to remember? What do you want to be a part of their lifestyle as an adult, man or woman?

We’re looking at Proverbs chapter 31, this week. Today we’re still in the very first paragraph where we’re reading about the instruction that a mother gave to her son. Her son was going to be the king, King Lemuel. And when he became an adult, he would go on to teach others the things that his mother had taught him when he was still a young prince.

We think that perhaps this king was King Solomon. If so, then his mother would have been Bathsheba. She had learned some things the hard way as a result of her illicit relationship with King David, Solomon’s father. There were some things she was very concerned to pass on to her son, the young prince, to prepare him to be a good king.

So as we come today to verse three, we see this woman is going to give her son some cautions and some counsel in verses three through nine. We’ll just look at the first part of that today. Just by way of overview—cautions and counsel—she’s going to warn him about things like moral impurity and what that can do to a king.

She’s going to warn him about being intemperate and about the need for self-control and sobriety. She’s going to warn him against over-indulgence. Then she’s going to give him some counsel about the importance of being a king, of being compassionate and executing justice.

Beginning in verse 10, she’s going to give him a lot of counsel about choosing a wife, about the qualities to look for in this life partner, and the importance of choosing a partner who will be a blessing and an asset to him through all of his life. So she’s going to give him counsel and cautions, and it’s going to be very important that he heed this wisdom.

Let me just say parenthetically here, by way of reminder. Though we are now adults, how important it is for us to continue to heed the counsel and the cautions of godly parents, of teachers, and of pastors, because if we violate godly counsel, we will not be an exception to God’s rule. We will experience consequences that will be highly destructive.

That’s what we see here in verse three where this mother says to her son and then, as an adult, he’s telling what it was that she taught him. She said to him in verse three, “Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.”

Now if you would think about the first thing you’d want to have recorded about what you taught your sons, would this be one of the first things? She says to her son—she taught him as a young prince—number one: “Don’t give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.”

This is a warning against, I think, two things. First, against losing his masculinity, and secondly, against moral impurity. Two things she’s cautioning him about here. Don’t give your strength to women.

Now the word strength here, interestingly, is the same word in the original language that is translated “virtuous” or “excellent” when we get to verse 10. Who can find a virtuous woman or wife, an excellent woman, a virtuous woman? She’s saying here . . . That’s the same word that could be translated in that verse strength.

We’ll come to that when we come to verse 10, but she’s saying here don’t give your strength—your manly strength—that which is distinctively your virtue as a man. Don’t lose it. Don’t give it up.

You see God made men and women different. I don’t have to tell you that. But God gave to men a distinctive type of strength and virtue. God gave to women—as we’ll see when we get to the latter part of this chapter—a distinctive kind of feminine strength and virtue. This verse, I think, is saying in essence, "Men, don’t give up your distinctively masculine strength or virtue."

When we get to verse 10 and the rest of the chapter, the message will be, "Women, don’t give up your distinctively feminine strength or virtue." See, our culture has today such a twisted, perverted, distorted sense of the differences between men and women. We’ve twisted the God-created differences, and now we have men acting like women and women acting like men.

So what do we end up with? Confusion. Chaos. The battle of the sexes. Competition. When what we should have . . . If men were keeping their masculine strength and women were keeping their distinctively feminine strength, what we would have is a beautiful rhythm, a harmony, a oneness, a complementarity. She’s saying . . . “Be a man” is what she’s telling her son.

Then she’s going to tell him, “Look for a wife who is a woman, a distinctively feminine woman.” So she warns him against the loss of manliness and then against adultery and immorality. She says it will debilitate your mind and your body. It will destroy you. Don’t give your ways to that which destroys kings.

Perhaps she was thinking of another leader: Samson, who not too many years earlier was one of the judges of Israel who had given his strength to women. This woman knew and she warned her son that violating God’s standards of moral purity will render you powerless.

Moral impurity, she’s telling her son . . . You need to be telling your sons and your daughters. We need to be reminding ourselves that moral impurity, sexual impurity will destroy your relationship with God. It will destroy your relationship with your mate, with your children, with other family members.

It will destroy your testimony as a Christian. It will destroy your future. It will destroy your sensitivity. It will destroy your reason. People who give in to moral impurity often become irrational. It will destroy your capacity for joy. It will destroy your conscience.

She’s saying no one is invincible. Just because you’re the king and you have all this power and you have all this authority, you are not invincible. You’re not past sinning in this way. You are not invincible. I am not invincible. The moment we start to think that we are, we are in the gravest of danger.

So she warns her son and then her son puts these words in the Holy Scripture to warn us. Not just to warn men, but men are not likely to be immoral without women being immoral, so it’s a warning for both men and women.

Now if this son was Solomon, then he apparently did keep his mother’s counsel early in his life, but later on he wandered from this counsel. He gave up his distinctive manliness to women. He gave up his distinctive strength as a man of God and he gave himself morally to other women. First Kings 11 tells us that his wives turned away his heart from God.

He started out with a heart for God. You need to remind your children and we need to be reminded, you can start out with a heart for God, but you can end up shipwrecked if you do not trust in God to preserve and maintain you in the area of your morals. Immorality will turn your heart from God.

Have you warned your children, your sons, your daughters about the importance of moral purity and the destructiveness of sexual activity outside of marriage? Have you been clear with them? Have you been specific? Don’t wait for the sex ed program in your kids’ school to teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. God gave you that responsibility to teach your children. If you’re not teaching them, the world is teaching them a whole different way of thinking.

Are you letting God guard your own heart? Or is it possible that even now you’re playing with fire? You’re involved emotionally on the computer, at work, even at church in a relationship that has the makings of something that’s immoral. Can I just say to you, “Get out.” Don’t stop to think about it, just get out.

Be ruthless in dealing with this whole area of sexual purity. The blessings to be had are incredible when we keep ourselves pure for God—when a man and woman keep themselves pure for that marriage relationship. The damage and the destruction is incalculable when we do not heed the warnings.

Leslie: Immorality is incredibly destructive. The book of Proverbs is filled with practical, timely advice on all sorts of issues that relate to our day. You’ll continue to discover that in just a minute when Nancy Leigh DeMoss returns to her verse-by-verse teaching on Proverbs 31.

If you appreciate Nancy’s in-depth teaching, would you let her know. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com and then write her an email. Let’s get back to Nancy’s study on Proverbs 31. She’s picking up on verse four.

Nancy: She says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine nor for princes intoxicating drink.” We come now to a caution or a warning that this king’s mother gave to him when he was still a young man. A caution against over-indulgence. She warns him about failing to be temperate, about the dangers of the lack of self-control. She reminds him that he is going to be a king. He’s a king in the making.

As you’re raising your sons and your daughters, remember that you are rearing young men and women to be kings and queens for God, to be spiritual royalty. You are a royal priesthood, Peter tells us. You want your children not just to be ordinary, not just to fit in with the crowd, not just to fit in with our culture or to survive it, but to be spiritual examples and leaders and revolutionaries.

So she reminds him, “You have a high and a holy calling. Remember who you are. You’re a king, and you're destined to lead.” Then she reminds him, “You cannot govern others well if you are a slave to your own appetites, your own passions and your own lusts. Remember your calling,” she says. “Remember your position and then act in light of it.”

That says to me what this mother told her son, “That means you better learn to rule yourself here and now if you’re ever going to rule others effectively.” Moms, you will never be able to govern your children effectively if you can’t govern your own passions, and you won’t be able to teach your children sobriety and temperance and self-control if you’re not a model of sobriety and temperance and self-control.

Now, in the Old Testament, kings were warned against drunkenness, against drinking too much, and this warning from a mother to her son who will be king is one of those warnings. But it wasn’t just kings in the Old Testament. It was also priests—those who served in the temple or the tabernacle who were told that they were not to drink when they were fulfilling their priestly role.

Leviticus 10, verse 9, tells us, “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.” This is a command given to the priests.

Most commentators agree that when Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered strange incense to the Lord and were killed (you read about that in Leviticus, chapter 10) . . . Most commentators agree that it was because of their drunkenness that they had done something wrong. There was an error in their judgment. Their thinking was clouded when they went in to serve as priests, and it was drunkenness that resulted ultimately in their deaths as priests.

Ezekiel 44 tells us no priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. So for priests to drink or for kings to drink in the Old Testament was considered dangerous. It would hinder them from fulfilling their God-given calling and role.

That’s what this mother understands and warns her son about. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink.” Verses 5-7: “Lest they drink [kings drink] and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

What she’s saying in effect is, though others may drink as a means to escape from their problems and their pain and their pressures, kings are not to do so.

Now, this paragraph is not promoting drinking for people who aren’t kings. In fact, it’s really a description—and a graphic one—of what alcohol does to the mind. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse results in a mind that is not clear or not sharp. It dulls your senses. Twice we read this person forgets. They forget the law. They forget their poverty. It dulls their senses.

Those who have, as we do, a high and holy calling as children of God will find that when we give ourselves to overindulgence in anything, including alcohol, drugs and substances like these, that we will forfeit our effectiveness. We will forfeit our calling.

She’s pointing out to her son that people use these types of things (drugs, alcohol) to escape from reality as a narcotic, to dull the pain, to drown out their sorrows. She’s saying, “You’re a king. You can’t do that. You cannot afford to have your senses clouded.”

Now, you say, “Okay, that’s for the Old Testament. I’m not a king. I’m not a priest.” But the Scripture tells us in the New Testament that Christ loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to God.

We read in 1 Timothy chapter 3, that this is a qualification for spiritual leadership in the church. That elders in the church, spiritual leaders, are not to be addicted to wine and that deacons are not to be given to much wine. Lest you think, “Well, I’m a woman. I would never be in that position,” 1 Timothy 3, verse 11, tells us, “Likewise, their wives must be . . . temperate.” So if you are not temperate, you actually can disqualify your husband from a position of spiritual leadership in the family of God.

Titus 2 tells us that we are to follow after the things which are appropriate for sound doctrine, and one of those is that older women are not to be given to much wine (see verse 3). “Given to” means to be enslaved, to be addicted. Let me just say, if you’re not temperate as a younger woman, you won’t just wake up one morning and find yourself now an older woman being temperate. We are becoming older women and need to be learning habits of temperance and discipline now.

I think it’s so important that we not allow ourselves to indulge in or to become enslaved to anything as women of God that could make us less alert, less sensitive, less tuned to God, or that could make us less effective at fulfilling our God-given tasks. It can be other things. I would just ask, what are you using in excess as a drug to numb the pain that’s maybe dulling your senses and sensitivity to God?

I talked some time ago with a woman who had been abused as a child growing up and had a dad who was not able to give her what she needed. I talked to her about how God wants us to be willing to walk into the pain rather than numbing it as she for years had been doing in various ways.

She wrote me back and she said, “I realized that one way I was numbing myself was with the TV, so I turned it off about a month ago. I wanted to connect with Him or with people and not with the TV.” Then she was able to walk into the pain and to let God take her into a process of healing. There are so many ways that women today have of escaping the pain.

Now, this mother says to this son, “Don’t do that. Don’t run from the pain. Don’t escape it. Don’t drown out your sorrows. Don’t get into anything that will enslave you or addict you or cloud your reason or your thinking.”

She goes on to say in verses 8 and 9 Here’s why—it’s because you have a mission fulfill—“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

She’s saying, “You don’t live for yourself. Your calling is to live a selfless and sacrificial life, so instead of using your wealth and your resources to hurt yourself, to drown out your sorrows, to cloud your thinking, use those resources to do good to others, to minister to others who are in sorrow or pain or need.”

It’s a call to get involved, to look around and see what the needs are and to use your position as a woman of God, to use your influence to do something about the problems around you. You will not be able to do that if you yourself are enslaved to anything other than the Lord.

What’s keeping you in bondage? What’s numbing your capacity to experience all that God has for you and to be used of God? You’ve got to be willing to say, “I’m not going to live in bondage to anything or anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Leslie: If today’s program has brought to mind some areas of bondage in your life, I hope you’ll pray with Nancy Leigh DeMoss when she comes back in just a minute. Today’s program is part of a thorough series on Proverbs 31 called The Counter-cultural Woman.

Nancy’s going to take you through every verse in Proverbs 31, and the best way you can make sure not to miss any of this practical, helpful information is to order the series on 10 CDs. When you order, you’ll get additional material from Nancy we didn’t have time to air.

Rather than ordering 10 audio CDs, you can also order one MP3 CD, and then listen to the files on your computer or MP3 player. Order The Counter-cultural Woman at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call 1-800-569-5959.

Who decides what it means to be a woman? Where do you turn for your standard? Nancy will address that issue tomorrow. Now she’s back to lead us in prayer.

Nancy: Father, would You please identify for us ways that we may be running from, escaping, numbing our pain? Would You give us the courage to run into it and to say no to anything that would enslave us? We want to live as women who are free under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

I pray for women who are wrestling with addictive behaviors and substances, whether it’s alcohol and drugs, illicit sex, or something that can be in and of itself harmless, as in friends or books. I pray that You would help us to identify what are the things that have enslaved us and then to be willing to walk in the power of Your Spirit to say no to anything that would be addictive in our lives and yes to Your lordship and Your rule in our lives that we may become instruments of mercy and grace to help others in their time of need. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

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