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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!
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Read Proverbs 30
Sayings of Agur
30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
Surely you know!
5 “Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
7 “Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 “There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers;
12 those who are pure in their own eyes
and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty,
whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth are swords
and whose jaws are set with knives
to devour the poor from the earth
and the needy from among mankind.
15 “The leech has two daughters.
‘Give! Give!’ they cry.
“There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’
17 “The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’
21 “Under three things the earth trembles,
under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,
a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
23 a contemptible woman who gets married,
and a servant who displaces her mistress.
24 “Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,
four that move with stately bearing:
30 a lion, mighty among beasts,
who retreats before nothing;
31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,
and a king secure against revolt.
32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
or if you plan evil,
clap your hand over your mouth!
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.”
This proverb is unique in that it was written by someone we hear nothing else about in Scripture. While we don’t know who Agur, son of Jakeh, is, we do know from what he says in verse 1 that these words ultimately come from God. The wisdom that Agur shares in this chapter fits with the flow of Proverbs because these verses are marked by humility. Proverbs 1 starts by saying that all of us should live with an assumption that we are lacking in wisdom and need to be instructed. If we don’t first fear God, we won’t ever become wise. This is also how Agur starts Proverbs 30. He writes, “I have not learned wisdom” (v. 3) and then compares that two verses later with “Every word of God is flawless” (v. 5). In essence what he is trying to say is, “Don’t listen to me! I don’t have the wisdom you are after. But God is the source of all wisdom and He is the One you should desire”.
Agur spends much of the rest of the chapter observing, and calling us to observe with him, different parts of creation that fascinate him. He writes lists of things that are wise but small, large and powerful, and too much for him to understand. He does this to help us fall in awe of who God is. He has created a world that is mighty and mysterious but is ultimately His. This type of writing echoes the end of Job, where God displays all that He has made to help us understand that He is God and we are not.
This chapter should remind us of who we are in the story of God. We are not the kings and queens of our universe, but instead are fully subject to the Creator of it all. Keeping ourselves in a place of dependence is essential to a right way of living. This is why Agur asks God to not make him rich (v. 8) because it might give him a false sense of security. The wise are those who first have the humility to admit they are not the source of all wisdom. Instead they daily live in awe of the One who created us, sustains us, and loves us.
- What verse or phrase most stuck out to you in this passage?
- Verse 18 begins with a list of things that are “too amazing” to Agur. What are some things that God has made that stir amazement in you?
- What keeps you from living humbly before the Lord?
By the Way
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