Leadership is serving. You should put the poor and needy and destitute ahead of yourself. Serve them. That’s what a good King should do. Use your throne for good, rather than indulging yourself. And take your cue from the King who became a servant…
1 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
What would a mother say to her son, the king? Well, King Lemuel’s mother says this: speak up for those who cannot, judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy. Let me go further, she is saying to Lemuel, focus on serving others, rather than indulging yourself. Use your throne for good.
The alternative for Lemuel is described in verses 3-7. Don’t spend your strength on women. They will be available to you as a king. They are a trap. They will take you off-mission, Lemuel. And the pursuit of beer and wine will, likewise, take you away from your responsibilities.
You might even forget what your decisions were if you are too drunk to act in your royal position. Those things are for the anguishing and perishing. It is understandable (not necessarily good) for those people to rely more on alcohol, yet you, Lemuel, need to be of sound mind to lead your people…
And leadership is serving. You should put the poor and needy and destitute ahead of yourself. Serve them and their needs. That’s royalty.
When we think about the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus, we see in him these attributes. In Philippians 2 we read that Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be held tightly. Rather, he took on the form of a humble servant to fulfill his mission.
I think Lemuel’s mom is ahead of her time and full of wisdom.