Proverbs 30:1-12

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Proverbs 30

1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy [i.e. (his) utterance]: the man spake unto Ithiel [i.e. he declared to Ithiel], even unto Ithiel and Ucal,

The proverbs of Solomon end with chapter 29. The identity of Agur is unknown. Agur's words are addressed to Ithiel and Ucal whose identities are also unknown.

2 Surely I am more brutish [i.e. stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

In verses 2-4 man's ignorance of God is seen. Brutish means like a brute or like an animal. Whether he is writing in irony contrasting himself with someone arrogantly claiming to be wise, or whether it is his sincere response to what he writes in verse 4 is unknown.

3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy [i.e. of the Holy One].

Agur sensed his lack of wisdom because he does not know God. Knowing God is the basis of true wisdom.

4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell [i.e. if you know]?

The only answer to these questions is God.

What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? reflects Agur's desire to know the nature of God.

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

In verses 5-6 man's knowledge of God through His word is indicated. God may be known through His word, which is flawless. It is purified like silver is purified. Every word of God is pure is a statement of the infallibility of the Scriptures.

A shield is something which provides protection. Our knowledge of God is derived from His word rather than from human speculation or reasoning. Those who pay attention to what God says are shielded from false speculations about God.

6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee [i.e. rebuke thee], and thou be found a liar.

Adding to what God has said makes one a liar. This states the absolute sufficiency of the Scriptures. No one should dare to add his thoughts and speculations to what God has spoken. This verse condemns the cults, all of which give their own writings and traditions the same authority as the Bible. It is also hard on Baptists who follow tradition rather than the Scriptures. It is also hard on preachers who make the text of Scripture say something God never intended it to say. It is also hard on those who believe in a continuing revelation of Scripture. This verse is reminiscent of some other verses:

Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:18-19 , 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Deuteronomy 4:2 - Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought [i.e. (anything)] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 - What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

7 Two things have I required [i.e. asked, requested] of thee; deny me them not before I die:

Agur is asking the Lord for two specific things before he dies, two areas of weakness he senses in his life.

8 Remove far from me vanity [i.e. falsehood] and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me [i.e. feed me with the bread of my need]:

The two areas of weakness from which he wants deliverance are: 1) protection from lying and 2) provision of daily sustenance without the temptations of wealth or poverty. He doesn't want to waste his life on trivia. He also does not want to deceive others or to be deceived by others.

9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain [i.e. profane the name of my God].

Wealth might cause him to disown and forget the Lord, to become independent of the Lord; whereas, poverty might cause him to steal and thus to dishonor God. He is fearful that he might fall into sin. He does not trust himself. We should likewise fear lest we fall to temptation in any area of our lives.

10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

In verses 10-33 Agur makes some observations about life. In verse 10 he gives some advice, warning not to meddle in another's domestic affairs.

Agur warns against accusing a servant to his master. A master may curse the person who falsely accuses his servant. Likewise, we should be very careful about criticizing God's servants. Most of the time they are not our problems. They are God's problems. He can take care of them. We should pray for them and be very careful to preach against the principles we perceive them to be violating but recognize that generally they don't ultimately answer to us unless they are a part of our own church staffs. For example, some professing Christians who are not a part of our local church or some ministers who are not a part of our local church may do things they should not do or may fail to do things they should do, but they do not answer to us. We never want to join them in their wrongdoing or to blindly condone their wrongdoing. If we perceive them to be wrong, we should not engage in the same practices; but I don't have to be beating them up publicly all the time. I do not have to participate in or to support whatever they do, but I have enough to manage without trying to manage people who are not mine to manage. It's like criticizing someone else's kids all the time. You have enough to do to manage your own children. Pray for those who are doing things they should not be doing or who are failing to do what they should be doing. They need prayer just like you do. Be helpful if you can; but remember that ultimately they don't answer to you. They answer to God, and God is perfectly capable of managing them.

11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

Disrespect toward one's parents, demonstrated in cursing their father or in showing no gratitude to their mother, is sin. The hostility shown toward parents is wrong. The attitude which says, "You can be glad you don't have my mother and my father as your parents" is a wrong attitude. So, the attitude which says, "My parents are so stupid" is wrong. Exodus 20:12 says, 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Cursing one's parents or failing to bless them is not honoring them.

12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

These people are self-righteous hypocrites. Although they are vile and unclean, they have no sense of shame regarding their sins. Their sins have not been cleansed by the blood of Christ.