Written By Bill Smith on Facebook
“The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What, my son? What, son of my womb? What, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.” (Proverbs 31:1-3)
In 1969, Mallory Millet was invited by her sister, Kate, to attend a meeting to start a revolution. They were in the preliminary stages of forming The National Organization of Women. Kate was finishing her Ph. D. thesis for Columbia University that later became the book, Sexual Politics. The group met in the home of one of Kate’s friends, calling the meeting a “consciousness-raising-group.” The group was unabashedly Marxist, taking on communist talk and exercises. In the meeting, according to Mallory, the women went through a litany much like the Catholic Church might do but with very different content.
“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”
“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.
How do you destroy Western Christian culture? Destroy the men. How do you destroy men? Take their strength … or, more accurately, have them give their strength away.
The king needs a wife, a helper comparable to him, who will aid him in the mission of developing the creation. But he must be careful. There are women out there who aren’t interested in helping a man build a household. There are leeches out there who will drain a man of all his power to fill and bring order to God’s creation. These women are trouble.
Lemuel’s mother warns her son not to give his strength to women; his ways to that which destroys kings. Don’t miss that his mother, not some misogynistic male, is giving him this counsel. His mother knows women, because she is one. If Lemuel is Solomon and the mother is Bathsheba (which is a strong possibility), the mother might know a little something about a king giving his strength to a woman.
Wise mothers are needed to instruct sons in the ways of wily women. We need mothers who understand the sinfulness particular to women, especially in their relations to men. We need mothers who are honest about their sinful tendencies, who don’t believe women are always right, or that being female is original righteousness. We need mothers who have subdued their sinful desire to rule their husbands, who show sons examples of Lady Wisdom.
Mothers like this understand that when men give their strength to women, both men and women are made weaker. Women do not gain the strength of men. They are burdened with the responsibility of men that they are not created to carry. Men and women both suffer when men give their strength to women.
The mother doesn’t place the responsibility for any loss of strength on women, no matter how wily they may be. If her son loses his strength, it will be because he gives it to women. They can’t take it from him.
How does a man give his strength to women? He gives no specifics. It is assumed by many that she is focused on sexual sins. Undoubtedly, that is one of the main ways men give their strength away (see Proverbs 5:9-12; 7:26-27). Men controlled by their sexual passions are weak, like a city broken into and without walls (Proverbs 25:28). The more they allow their sexual passions to run wild, the weaker they become. Men give strength away to prostitutes, pornography, or even manipulative wives; wives who seek to control their husbands by using sex as a bargaining chip. Men, listen to Lemuel’s mother. Don’t give your strength to women sexually.
While sexual sins are prominent, I believe Lemuel’s mother speaks of any area where men have God-given strength. Men are to be strong in setting and maintaining a mission. A man is to have direction and purpose, so that he is building something for the kingdom in a particular way. He is to maintain mental and emotional strength to avoid being manipulated and diverted. A strong man maintains his purpose, confidence, and strength that keeps him from capitulating to others’ agendas for his life, tossed about by others’ opinions. He is willing to lose relationships if he must to maintain the mission. This is what Jesus did. This is what he expects us to do. Men, don’t give up this “frame” to women. They are there to help you, not set the course.
Men are given strength authoritatively and are not to give that strength to women. Men have responsibilities that come with God-given authority and must use authority to serve the genuine needs of those under their care. “Genuine needs” are not always “felt needs,” and they certainly aren’t what everyone else wants to do without qualification. Men are to exhibit strength authoritatively, not as tyrants, but for the sake of others, even when they don’t understand what they need.
When men retain and use their strength, it is good for both men and women. When men give away their strength, everyone suffers. Men, don’t give your strength to women.