Have you ever heard of King Lemuel? He is an obscure figure from the Bible only mentioned in Proverbs 31. He is introduced as sharing some inspired wisdom gained from his mother. He speaks these words in Proverbs 31:8,9, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Three actions are mandated in this advice: speak, judge, defend. These are three of the most important functions in a human’s life. They represent the difference between living as a person of character and living a self-centered life. Despite the fact that many of us might assume right away that we know how to fulfill each one, I find them to be incredibly challenging. The evidence from our society suggests that much harm can be done by those who engage in these three activities recklessly. A lot of speech does more harm than good. A lot of judging reveals more hate than love. A lot of defending is more about advancing an agenda than sacrificing for another. Because we do not weigh the seriousness of the call to speak, judge and defend, we often enter the arena ill-prepared and can end up doing serious damage. Sometimes we do a lot of nothing under the guise of pursuing lofty goals. When I hear those words, speak, judge, defend, I automatically think, I NEED HELP! I need preparation and training for treading out into such deep water. I need to learn from a Master who has been there before. I need a relationship with someone who knows the pitfalls and understands the terrain. I need Christ. I have more to say on this subject and that will follow next week in King Lemuel Part 2. I close for now by saying that speaking, judging and defending are too important to engage in recklessly. We raise the bar on our discipleship when we operate from a strong relationship with Christ.