LETTERS TO MY SON: guarding your hayil
“What, O my son?
And What, O son of my womb?
And what O son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.”
Before I launch in to a list of qualities to look for in a good and godly wife, I want to take a moment to reiterate the warning King Lemuel’s mom gives at the beginning of her own letter to her son.
First of all, her son is a man, not a boy when she pours out her heart to him. Like you, Lemuel was a leader of men. He had authority and influence. And with that position of leadership, he had obligations.
And so do you.
Years and years ago, while you were just a boy, you sensed God’s calling to spiritual leadership. With ironclad determination you have pursued the preparations necessary to equip you for that kind of leadership. You know where you are going and what you need to get there.
You are a rarity.
So many men your age have no idea where they are going or why they are doing what they got up this morning to do. Few are the men who have listened to God’s voice and direction for their lives. Fewer still are the men who have mapped out how to get where God is directing them to go.
As your mom, I have watched and pondered and wondered at this rare and wonderful guidance from God.
And, as your mom, it scares me to my knees.
I have labored for you in prayer. Like the writer of this letter, I have seen God intervene and answer my prayers in the midst of battles and distractions and temptations. And yet I know that you are a threat to the Satan, that enemy whose sole aim is to destroy what God wants to do.
And so, with Mama Lemuel, I want to pause to warn you to keep a strong guard around yourself lest you forfeit your right to a position of leadership in this Kingdom of God on earth.
Because it doesn’t take much to be knocked out of the race.
Lemuel’s mother used a fascinating word to warn her son about a wasted life.
Hayil, translated strength in the NIV, is a vastly important word that has to do with physical strength as well as wealth and ability and dignity. It is a word that encompasses noble character and special abilities.
Do not spend or use up or waste your hayil on women, she warns— and this from a woman! She’s warning her son that we, of the tribe of Eve, can and often are voracious eaters of men!
And Matt, I just want to chime in and agree. When you’re reading these letters over the next few months, please listen with the realization that the wrong kind of woman can sap your strength, steal your hayil, and rob you of your God-given calling.
The stakes are high, my son. And the temptation is great.
May God give you the wisdom and the patience to wait for a woman who will add to your strength rather than take more than you have.
From my heart,
Come back tomorrow to learn about… Two Kinds Of Women.
To the women who are reading this:
Please be patient with me as I attempt to describe to my son (and all the sons who read these words) what a godly woman looks like. And if you have any pieces of wisdom to add, please do! I welcome your input into Matt’s learning.