My thoughts (Cheryl Stonestreet):
Proverbs 31: 1-9 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: (NRSV)
I did not know exactly what an oracle was, so I looked it up. In this case it means, the answers given. Which made me wonder, what was the question? What was Lemuel asking his mother that she would respond with this answer? I wonder if he said, “But Mother, I am the King. Why can’t I take my ease with wine and women? Isn’t that a benefit of being the King?”
To which she answers, lovingly and clearly, “No, my son!” And then I went on to wonder, how do we as children of God behave simply because we feel we have to right to?
Before the economy went bonkers, there were a lot of preachers preaching about our entitlements as children of God. Some were even praying to God as if S/He were a celestial Santa Claus. Just pray for it and you’ll get it! (I haven’t heard as much from them lately.) And I’m so glad it doesn’t work that way. Looking back, I can think of lots of prayers that I’m glad the answer was a loving and clear, “No, my daughter!”
Reading on we get a better idea of what Lemuel’s mother’s answer was about and how a king should act. She told him that wine is not for kings lest they forget what was decreed. Give wine to those perishing; those who need it to forget their pain. Instead speak out, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy. (My translation.) If this is how a king should behave, should we as children of the King act any differently?
I believe it is okay to ask God to help you become the person in God’s plan, to ask for guidance and respite when things get tough. We have every right to ask to be stretched and melded and to have our talents used for the highest and best. But if we assume that because we are God’s children, we are fittingly assured to have all our whims and desires met, we may be reading more into the scriptures than what is there. At least I hope so, or I’m in trouble.
When I was a little girl, I thought it would be cool to own a zoo. I’m glad I didn’t get that. But I’d still take a winning lottery ticket.
Thought for the day: Abba, thank you for saying, “No, my daughter!”
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.