Sometimes I think, "What's the point of telling my kids, 'Don't do this or that!'? There's a very real chance they'll still do it!" But as I see Lemuel's mom burdened, almost knowing her son is destined to go down this path of sin and carnality, and warning him, I see the heart of our Father.
Galatians 3:23 says, "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed."
I look back at my own life and see that all my mom's prayers and worries and desires that I wouldn't follow the ways of this world didn't stop me. I still followed and I see the fruit of sowing those "royal oats" to this day. But when faith came; when Jesus made Himself real to me, when I saw my sin and what it did to my Lord, I was no longer functioning under the guard of my mom's or even God's law, but responded to the love of Christ myself- wanting to obey Him and seeing His ways (which I naturally oppose) as wonderful and His law as perfect and desirable.
Lemuel's mom, my mom, and I (and you too I'm sure!) all desire for our kids what God desires for us: to obey His ways and avoid sin because it's bad and it hurts. But that can only come to pass when by faith our kids see the price for sin, Jesus' death on the cross, in their own lives and turn to Him. In the mean time, we should guard our kids with God's law. While they are in our house we should teach them and warn them and discipline them in God's ways. If we do, as with Lemuel's mom's burden, we can trust God to work through it, for His word will have it's fruit and achieve His purposes!
I think Lemuel's mom's burden is prophetic and I think God still puts prophetic burdens in the hearts of moms who love His law and who desire their children to walk in God's ways. This specific prophetic utterance, in verses 3-9 of Proverbs 31, I believe speaks not only of the only King for God who fulfilled these truths: Jesus. It also speaks to those who are born of Him by faith, who are no longer slaves themselves to these natural lusts which they once walked in, but are now made sons of God in Christ too. These verses tell of God's purposes and plans for His, "kings" with a little k- men who in Christ are made great. I think it so beautiful how God reveals His true kings. First in the King of kings, His only Son, who came not as a mighty ruler but as a suffering Servant. And as it was for the King of kings it is for kings of the King. Men in Christ are proven kings for God not in lording themselves over others, but in serving and leading self-sacrificially (See Matt.20:25-28).
I hear the heart of my Father for Connor and Ryland as future men and for all men who would follow His Son as I hear King Lemuel's mom's heavy heart:
"Don't give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings." (Proverbs 31:3 and the following is my heart on verses 4-9) And don't drink cocktails and wine and give yourself over to mind altering substances or intoxicate yourself in any cup of pleasure this world offers you! If you do you'll forget God's law. Let those who are perishing indulge themselves...that's what all men, even you will naturally do. But when you see that you're perishing and bitter of heart, impoverished and miserable and that the King of kings bore all the judgement against you; when you hear Him who knew no sin and became sin for your poor soul saying, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," run to Him and let Him make you a king for God. Then stay away from what He died for. Instead, do what He did, "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." For then, by His Spirit, just as He's done for you, you can be His ambassador and let Him say through you to others, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me. Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Oh Lord! It's You, only You who can rescue those who are numbed and poisoned and unaware they are perishing they're so intoxicated with the "strong drinks" of this world. Whatever self-gratifying pleasure it is, unless You touch us, unless you make us aware of our spiritual poverty, slavery and misery, we'll go straight to eternity separated from You intoxicated with pleasures. You've yanked me out of the grave LORD! You've made me alive! Now do the same for my sons I pray! And for all those men who You would have in this country as Your "kings for God"- men who You've made alive in the Spirit who would follow Jesus in serving and leading self-sacrificially. Raise them up LORD to be men who would lead us in a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Make them your ambassadors Lord! Stir their hearts to speak boldly the truth in love and to lead us in turning from our intoxicating earthly riches to embracing the riches of knowing we are spiritually destitute. Better that we would know how poor we really are and turn to You to make us truly rich, than to go on drinking this world's cup of strong drink, forgetting our poverty and remembering our misery no more! Oh LORD would You keep my sons for Your purposes and wake up your sons!