1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.[a]
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.[b]
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.”
A noticeable change in style here is a result of a new author. In Proverbs 30, we find ourselves reading the work of Agur, son of Jakeh. While Agur isn’t a name you may have memorized as a child or know very much about, he demonstrates an understanding of himself that we should all seek to emulate.
“I am weary, God, (we feel that)
but I can prevail. (Amen)
Surely I am only a brute, not a man; (been there)
I do not have human understanding. (Yep)
I have not learned wisdom, (oh boy)
nor have I attained the knowledge of the Holy One. (Really trying.)
It’s a fine line to have a low opinion of yourself vs. thinking poorly of yourself. The wisdom of God isn’t meant to turn you into a man whose shoulders are hung in defeat. You are a Son of God, a child of the King who paid for you with His blood. God Himself has chosen you, and that relationship should humble you.
Proverbs 30 begins with a beautiful confession of ignorance that once again Agur has failed to grasp the wisdom of God. Who among us hasn’t? We started this journey together in Proverbs 1 realizing our need for repentance, a condition that stays with us through our entire lives. God is merciful, and the process of becoming more like Him is unending. So keep Agur’s confession close to your heart today, and just like him, remind yourself that through God’s power, you can prevail.
“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Here confession transitions to admission as we reflect on the unfailing nature of God and His standing as our unflappable Defender. He has never lost a battle or uttered a lie, and it is because of those truths that we can follow Agur’s lead and ask for His protection from the attacks of the enemy:
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
Agur knows what is most dangerous to a man’s heart. Our failure to trust in God’s daily provision can lead us towards the temptation to steal what is not ours or hoard what has been given to us, both of which dishonor Almighty God and shortchange our intended purpose in life. Examine your life. Where are the moments where you have failed to put your hope in the generosity of God’s hands? Where did it lead you?
Today, adopt the rhythm of Agur: Repent, Confess, and then Ask. God is with you.
God, I confess I’m not worthy to come before You. But in the power of the Holy Spirit and through the work of Jesus, I ask You to cleanse my heart. Bring me closer to You so that I can know You better. Bless my thoughts, my words, my work. Guard me so that I don’t commit the same sins again. Amen.