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Chickens Come Home to Roost

December 23, 2023

In Proverbs 31:1-9, we read the wisdom “of King Lemuel” (verse 1). No such king reigned in Israel or Judah, so Lemuel is likely a pseudonym for King Solomon (or possibly Hezekiah, though less probable). If Solomon is meant, then the “inspired” text is actually Bathsheba’s wisdom - which is most likely the case. As a queen herself, she recognizes the high calling of kings and rulers and the severe potential for their fall caused by women and alcohol. Twice, she states - “it is not [fitting] for kings” (verse 4). Royalty and leadership have a responsibility to set a high example to “speak up for … the rights of all, especially for those who cannot speak for themselves” (verse 8). God will hold governmental authorities accountable for their leadership decisions, and, as history has shown us - many a leader has been “ruined by” (cf., verse 3) the negative effects of profligate women and booze – frequently in bad mixture. That our current politicians seem to get away with their decadence and their drunkenness will by no means exempt them from God’s ultimate authority and accountability for their poor governance. Eventually, whether it's a hangover or an illicit affair, chickens do come home to roost; where loose women and alcohol interfere with leadership decisions – on any level - let the man beware - the hidden costs are devastating.

We remember that Revelation 14:1-13 is still part of a parenthetical section of the book. John sees this choir of 144,000 witnesses - “standing on Mt Zion and singing a new song” (verse 3). Interestingly, the text informs us at this point that these witnesses have not “defiled themselves with women” (verse 4). The implication here (and throughout all of Scripture) is not a general derogation of femininity but rather of women who, like certain men, have selfish, ulterior motives against God Himself. At the end of the day, this is the truth behind Bathsheba’s inspired warning to “the son of her womb - the answer to her prayers” (Proverbs 31:2). No mother ever naturally desired her son to be destroyed by alcohol or distracted and devoured by a femme fatale.

In Ezra 8:15 - 9:15, we see Ezra’s organization of and preparation for the exiles to return from Babylon to the land of Israel. In his company, no “Levites (i.e., priests) were found,” so Ezra – realizing the corporate need for a mediator for sin - recruits “attendants for the house of God” (verse 17). Under Ezra’s leadership, the exiles set out for and subsequently arrive in Jerusalem (8:31-32). Then, in chapter 9, we observe Ezra’s emotional concern for the intermarriages that have taken place during the years of exile. Here, from God’s perspective, intermarriage has opened the door for “detestable practices” to enter into and divide that which He intended to remain pure and indivisible – the sanctification of the Jewish people and nation. Ezra’s interrogatory prayer is heartfelt - “What has happened to us? We are left today as a remnant” (verse 13). As we said earlier, the chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

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