for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
This is the final piece of advice that Lemuel's mother is giving him, in regards to his public life . . . that life as a king, a ruler of his people and his country. It is a reminder of his responsibility as a king. One of the things that we have heard hammered home in Proverbs is the idea that a king must have wisdom and discernment; he must do a noble job of ruling his people. And many of the verses have given instructions on just how to do that -- and we've been able to apply those instructions to our lives, too.
The king's mom reminds him that he is to speak up for the less privilege, and he is to judge fairly. In our culture, we have a graphic illustration that everyone recognizes. . . it is the figure of Justice, with her scales in hand, and she is blindfolded. We take this to mean that judgements -- whether punishments or rewards -- will be measured out with no respect of the persons on either side. That a poor person has just as much right to justice as a rich person. This is a principle that is rooted in the Bible, and has been an integral part of our heritage and our history.
Not only is the king to judge fairly, but he is to defend a person that needs to be defended. No sitting back and letting others demean or vilify a person, simply because he isn't there to defend himself or herself. No allowances for others to mock or scorn one who needs compassion or understanding.
Every leader, whether a king, a pastor, or a parent leading children in the home, has a calling that must be remembered and honored. We must keep in the forefront of our minds that God has placed us where we are -- and for a reason. We all have a job to do, whether it is large or small.
It's easy to compromise when we come up against persecution. It's even easier to compromise when we are flattered and distracted. But it is our responsibility to remember our calling, and to do as this mother advised:
1. Be a person who models fidelity in our marriage and in our faith-walk.
2. Be a person who models self-control.
3. Show fairness to those who need our fairness and our defense of them.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Acts 20:35
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain I Cor 15:58