This is part thirty in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn wisdom and discernment from God’s Word. Yesterday I learned that I need to keep my mouth and emotions under control lest I be proven foolish by my words or actions. I also saw the importance of maintaining moral purity when in a position of leadership, where political, church or family leadership.
Chapter 30 is one of just two chapters in this book that records the wisdom of someone other than Solomon. The proverbs in this chapter were written by Agur, a man we know nothing about, except that he was probably a foreigner (and the son of Jakeh, as mentioned in the first verse). He begins this passage in a strange way: “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One.” He begins with a statement that seems to deny his own wisdom. Looking deeper, though, we see that he acknowledges the wisdom of God and these words are merely a comparison of his wisdom with God’s. He is aware that his wisdom is bound and can never be as complete and wondrous as God’s wisdom.
He continues to express God’s wisdom verse four. “Who 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?” His purpose is this verse is to show that we cannot attain knowledge of God merely by observing the world around us. God is so much bigger than His creation, for He controls the winds and the waters. He exists in both the heavens and on the earth, for He is present everywhere.
Verses 5 and 6 express the beauty and power of God’s Word. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” In words that recall (and actually quote) the Psalms of David, the author provides the answer to the questions he asked in the previous verse. We cannot depend on creation to tell us about God, but must rely on His revelation through Scripture. God’s Word is pure, uncorrupted where creation has suffered so greatly through the fall. He also warns against judging Scripture by our flawed, human standards, saying that if we do so God will rebuke us for our pride.
If there is any single thing I have been learning through the past weeks and months, it is the power of God’s Word. As I come to a deeper understanding of this, my love and respect for the Scriptures increases as well. I am coming to a deeper appreciation of the priceless treasure God has given us in the Bible.
There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.
This passage speaks on two levels. On one hand it shows that God has created the world with a certain order. Ants, though tiny animals, fulfill God’s purposes for them by working hard and with order. Locusts also live in an orderly manner, despite the fact that they have no king.
At a deeper level, though, we can see that the author speaks about a weakness inherent in each of these animals. Ants, badgers, locusts and spiders are all small, weak animals, yet they are able to fulfill the function God has created them for. They are able to overcome their weaknesses and glorify God. The gifts each of them has is a gift from a wise God.
The application of this passage is clear. Each of us has both gifts and weaknesses. God gives each of us gifts in order to honor Him with them. As one seeking to honor God with my life, I need to trust that the strengths He gives me will be able to overcome whatever weaknesses I may have or perceive in myself.