A message by Pastor Bill Mann on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at King’s Grace Fellowship.
The journey is almost complete, with only 2 chapters that remain. In tonight’s chapter we hear from a man named Agur. Some commentaries suggest that Agur of chapter 29 and Lemuel of chapter 31 are allegorical names for Solomon. Other’s suggest that these were rulers of a non-Jewish community in an area called Massa. (North of the Persian Gulf) Most commentators believe Agur lived in the same era as Solomon. The truth is that we don’t know much about Agur except what we can glean from this one chapter. The bottom line is no one really knows but they try . . . one commentary
“These simple yet profound observations on life reveal many aspects of this otherwise unknown man named Agur. For example, Agur realized God’s wisdom was greater than his own. He understood the temptation of riches. He knew many aspects of life and of God’s creation would remain a mystery beyond his understanding. And Agur knew the importance of controlling anger, avoiding foolishness, and living for God. He encourages his readers to refrain from a life that dishonors God and results in judgment. Rather, Agur promotes living life with a proper fear of God and concern for other people.” 
My take is simple. No matter who wrote it or the area they lived in, the chapter contain some very important principles (truths) that we’d do well to live by. Let’s first read this passage, then take a look at some of the highlights.
Proverbs 30:1–33 (NKJV)
1The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal: 2Surely I am more stupid than any man, And do not have the understanding of a man. 3I neither learned wisdom Nor have knowledge of the Holy One. 4Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, If you know? 5Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. 7Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. 10Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty. 11There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. 12There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.13There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. 14There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men. 15The leech has two daughters— Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”: 16The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water— And the fire never says, “Enough!” 17The eye that mocks his father, And scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it. 18There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yes, four which I do not understand: 19The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, And the way of a man with a virgin. 20This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, “I have done no wickedness.” 21For three things the earth is perturbed, Yes, for four it cannot bear up: 22For a servant when he reigns, A fool when he is filled with food, 23A hateful woman when she is married, And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress. 24There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: 25The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; 26The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; 27The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; 28The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces. 29There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which are stately in walk: 30A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any; 31A greyhound, A male goat also, And a king whose troops are with him. 32If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33For as the churning of milk produces butter, And wringing the nose produces blood, So the forcing of wrath produces strife.
Proverbs 30:2–3 (NKJV)
2Surely I am more stupid than any man, And do not have the understanding of a man. 3I neither learned wisdom Nor have knowledge of the Holy One.
This was a big revelation to me personally. I remember when the Lord made this real to me. Left to myself, I am full of stupidity. There is never a time I do not need God’s wisdom. Whenever I think I know, it’s always safer to run it by God FIRST!
I found this commentary of Forest Gump’s saying, “Stupid is as stupid does.” And I thought it fit.
“Forrest Gump’s “Stupid is as stupid does” is a variant of an old adage, “Handsome is as handsome does.” This saying appears in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and in Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd,” and can be traced as far back as the 14th Century. “Handsome is as handsome does” basically means that true handsomeness has to do with a person’s behavior, not just a handsome face. The saying is also phrased in the forms “Pretty is as pretty does” and “Beauty is as beauty does.” Forrest’s version of the saying means that stupidity is not just a surface thing derived from a person’s appearance. Stupidity is a matter of deeds, not looks. Like the other versions, it comes down to this: judge people by what they do, not by how they appear.”
I liked the part which says, “Stupidity is a matter of deeds, not looks.” When I read that I realized that if I only rely upon my own understanding, I put myself in cahoots with most believers. I want to live above that. Not that I’m better, but because I really don’t want to miss what God has for me. I really don’t want to struggle with things and I have come to believe that God really knows best!
Verse 3 solidifies for me the notion that I know very little, but God really does know it all. I’m personally ok with that. It’s not that I’m devoid of original thoughts, I’ve just come to grips with my own humanity and understand it’s frailty (especially in my thinking) and I have surrendered everything to God.
So after reading this passage I always conclude, “Lord help me to not remain stupid. Help me to willingly surrender to You every thought and potential action. And please help me to trust that you have it all together. Lastly, help me to rest in you wisdom.”
Proverbs 30:5–6 (NKJV)
5Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
This passage always makes me acknowledge that God’s Word is to be trusted. If I honor it by walking in obedience to it, it brings life to me. (and a good life it is) There are a number of external references (references outside of the Book of Proverbs) that support this notion.
Psalm 12:6 (NKJV)
6The words of the Lordare pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.
Psalm 19:8 (NKJV)
8The statutes of the Lordare right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lordis pure, enlightening the eyes;
Psalm 119:140 (NKJV)
140Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.
Psalm 18:30 (NKJV)
30As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lordis proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)
11For the LordGod is a sun and shield; The Lordwill give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 115:9–11 (NKJV)
9O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.11You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.
Peter speaks of the importance of God’s Word in this manner:
1 Peter 2:1–3 (NKJV)
1Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
I think this is interesting because it speaks of the intensity needed to learn a better way to live. Put away violently. (malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking) With an infantile fortitude (cue audio) go after the Word in order for you to grow in the faith. Paul the Apostle says it like this:
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This Agur, believed in the supremacy of God’s Word as it stood. No alterations, no “scholarly” commentary. Just plain and simple to understand IF one is willing to embrace it as such, God’s Word!
Proverbs 30:7–9 (NKJV)
7Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
I call this highlight “Balance”. We tend to vacillate between extremes and have a rather difficult time finding balance in just about everything. (not all, but I personally believe most) So here Agur is asking God to help him to learn balance in understanding his own propensity towards “falsehoods” and “lies” as well as understanding the correlation between “poverty” & “wealth.”
This is interesting because there really is a subtle difference between “falsehoods” & “lies” and the Holy Spirit felt it important to have this notion recorded. Here’s why I think: We at times and for whatever reasons, feel justified in dissembling a bit. We call them “white lies” and were taught that they were just as bad a “real lies”. Yet, in an attempt to not incriminate ourselves we are tempted, follow through with and even feel justified in telling half-truths. So the prayer: “Remove falsehood and lies far from me!”
Some may consider this too passive, but I find safety in it. I never want to allow my affluence to steer me away from the Lord. A thankful & generous heart will help to keep you close to the Source. (Jesus) If you keep close to Jesus you are less likely to become arrogant and prideful due to your possessions. When you really embrace the notion that God is THE SOURCE of all you wealth you also understand that every bit of you “borrowed” wealth could evaporate, yet God remains the same. It was He who provided for you in the early days, and it will be Him who will provide for you in the future.
Obviously, pride, arrogance and stealing are sins to avoid. We each have to come to grips with these and embrace what God has to say about them. Life isn’t always perfect, and the Devil will throw obstacles in your way, so the opportunity to think wrongly about these issues is real. Couple that with the frailty of our flesh and we could be right in that boat of arrogance or theft in some form or another. (Whether you call it that or not, God will.)
So again, the prayer:
Proverbs 30:8–9 (NKJV)
8Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:32–33 (NKJV)
32If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.33For as the churning of milk produces butter, And wringing the nose produces blood, So the forcing of wrath produces strife.
We jumped to the end because this passage stirred something up in me. I re-read it in multiple translations. For me The Message hits pretty hard: (I get it?)
Proverbs 30:32–33 (The Message)
32If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, 33Don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose. Churned milk turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights.
But I must give credit to the NLT. I think it rendered the passage the best.
Proverbs 30:32–33 (NLT)
32If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. 33As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.
So how do you stop a fight? Become humble in all things. Learn to suffer some wrong. God will repay. If you’ve never stopped a fight because your normal response keeps things stirred up, learn a new way. God’s way. The way of humility or preferring others over yourself. Be kind, compassionate. Be truthful about your motives. Adjust your mannerisms, Change your speech. Learn timing. Be honest. (beware of “brutal honesty”) (I’m defining “brutal honesty” as a kind of “shrouded” honesty that couldn’t care less how much or whom it hurts and does not take into consideration the “relationship” factor.
If you have a proper Godly relationship with someone they will be more likely to listen to you and consider your words, than if you have no relationship with that person at all. What you say only becomes only the opinion of a perceived nut job.
As our maturity level in Christ raises, we understand that God can and does use many people to speak into our lives. Sometimes even a “nut job”. So, the mature believer will cautiously listen and weigh what people say. Your job as a one who would speak into someone’s life is to learn to do it such a way that they will receive it. And in general, good, godly relationships are the way that happens. However, an occasional donkey needs to speak.