But I recently realized King Lemuel's mother - of Proverbs 31 - needed no advocate.
King Lemuel's identity is debated in theological circles. Some believe Lemuel is another name Solomon was known by. Others believe he was King of Massa and still others believe he was not a real person at all. While the debate over who he was goes on, I want to focus on his mother.
Proverbs 31 starts out with "The sayings of King Lemuel.....an oracle his mother taught him..."
Some versions say "a prophecy his mother taught him..."
Some versions say, "an inspired utterance his mother taught him...."
Oh, my. A woman, inspired? Oh, God, what were you thinking?
King Lemuel's mother taught him. This is huge. These are not the oracles of his father. This is not a father/son bonding moment which all fathers need so they can teach their sons the things of God. This is not a time when a father "stepped up" and took the reigns and taught his son because only fathers can teach sons properly and men need their father to teach them.
His mother taught him.
And it was powerful.
And it was enough.
And King Lemuel was not the only one whose mother was their main influence/instructor. Paul praised Timothy's mother and grandmother - by name - in 2 Timothy 1:5...."I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well."
The lie in the church is that fathers and sons have to have a deeper, better relationship than fathers and daughters. This is a lie. Sons are not more important than daughters. Fathers are not more important than mothers. Ideally, a family has both a mom and a dad, but that is not always the case, nor is it always possible.
Don't be fooled by the lies that your family will be less than what God wants it to be unless the father steps up in the way dictated by those who promote patriarchy. If you're a single mom, don't think for a minute that you aren't enough. Don't think for a minute that your son or daughter won't "turn out as good" without a father. It is God who works in them.
I recently read a blog post from the "Desiring God" (as if anyone does) blog of John Piper's group and I was shocked that the blog post actually said that women whose fathers don't step up and get involved in even "dating" their daughter's boyfriend, are leaving their daughter "emotionally and spiritually uncovered."
Huh? What is that? What does that even mean? Is not Christ enough, even for a daughter? Surely if a woman is going to be enough, by God's design, to teach a son like King Lemuel, she is enough. God is enough for a young girl even if she has a desire to get married. And He's enough if she decides not to ever marry....and it's no tragedy for her to make that decision. This article hinted at being single as a tragedy. Their teachings that women need a "spiritual and emotional covering" is akin to Sharia Law and has no business in Christian circles. God says there is no distinction between male and female in Galatians 3:28. We are all one in Christ.
I recently heard a preacher exalt the relationship between fathers and sons while minimizing the father/daughter relationship. He said dads are the ones who teach sons to be good dads, so a dad's relationship with a son is more important, more vital. That preacher needs to put his opinion back in the opinion box because that is simply not true.
To put it another way, that teaching is false. Just look at King Lemuel. Look at Timothy.
God is not limited by man's ideas of what is good and what people think things, even families, should look like. God will raise up who He wants to raise up, with or without a father.
Do not underestimate the influence of a mother in her son's life. King Lemuel was not afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to give his mother the credit for all she taught him. He did not mention his father even once.
And get this....listen carefully....not one verse in Scripture talks about a father exclusively teaching a son. Not one. Many verses talk about mothers teaching sons, but not one talks about how a father, exclusively should - or even did - teach a son.
Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about teaching God's statutes diligently to our children, but does not single out fathers and sons.
Deuteronomy 11:19 also talks about teaching our children, but, again, does not single out fathers and sons.
Proverbs 1:8 says, "My son, hear the instruction of your father and do not forsake your mother's teaching," putting the teachings of mothers and fathers on an equal plane.
Proverbs 6:20 says, "Son, keep your father's commands and forsake not the law of your mother," putting the teachings of fathers and mothers on an equal plane.
Proverbs 31:1 says, "The words of King Lemuel, the inspired words of his mother..." exalting the teachings of his mother above all else.
My husband and I reared our eight children together. He did not treat our sons any differently than he treated our daughters....and neither did I. We taught them all that they are not entitled....that no one owes them anything....that they have to earn their way....that their love for God and relationship with Him is the most important thing in their life....the list could go on. But, we taught them together. My word as their mom was (and is) still as much "law" in their lives as their dad's word. We are fortunate to have lived long enough to raise all our kids, but, had one of us died young, the other would have continued teaching the kids the things of God without missing a beat.
That is what is important......teaching the things of God.....not the things people think of God, but what the Bible actually says, without speculation and without adding to it.
Do not fall for the lie that tells you sons are more important than daughters. This lie will destroy your family and you won't see it coming.