Posts Tagged ‘Agur’

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 30:07 Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die 

Do you pray wisely? Do you pray fervently? You reveal your heart by your prayers. Life is short, and pleasing God should be your greatest ambition. Only a few men use their lives well in pursuing this noblest goal. Agur expressed himself strongly to God for two crucial factors in living a life to honor God. Admitting the brevity of life, and confessing his great need, he prayed aggressively for these two important things.

His prayer was not long, for content and fervency are more valuable than length. God rejects the vain repetitions and pagan nature of the Rosary (Matt 6:7-8). Though Agur had other needs, he knew the supreme priority of spiritual blessings. His first request was directly spiritual, and his second was to submit his carnal needs to it. If you always seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, he will take care of the rest (Matt 6:33).

What did Agur request? He first asked God to save him from vanity and lies (Pr 30:8). He begged for deliverance from the foolish and profitless ideas of men and the empty and worthless life this world offers. He asked the Lord to keep him from believing the deceitful lies of men. He knew that worldly opinions and activities were vain and vexing (Ps 119:113; Ecc 1:1-3; 12:8; Matt 6:24; I Tim 4:8; II Tim 3:1-5; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17).

What did Agur request? He then asked God to give him only convenient and modest success (Pr 30:8). He wanted to avoid both poverty and wealth, knowing that each brought its own set of temptations and trials (Pr 30:9). He did not pray against both for the carnal difficulties each could bring, but rather for their effect on His love of God. Riches could puff up his mind and turn him away from God (Pr 18:11; 28:11; I Tim 6:6-10), and poverty could lead him to steal and disgrace God’s name (Pr 1:10-19; 6:30-31).

These two requests were very wise and noble. Agur did not use prayer to satisfy his lusts, as most men do when they pray (Jas 4:3). He sought the glory of God, the truth, and the spiritual good of his soul, even if it meant sacrificing some success. As in Solomon’s case, obtaining wisdom to please God was more important than riches (I Kgs 3:5-13). As with Moses, reproach with God’s people was better than sinful pleasures (Heb 11:24-26).

Consider Agur’s aggressive prayer. First, he requested the things of the Lord. He did not merely suggest an idea or propose a thought; he demanded the blessing, like Jacob long before him (Gen 32:24-28). He was intensely serious about these requests, for he knew they were holy petitions. He then confessed his definite mortality, appealing to the immortal God for a speedy answer before his short life would be over (Ps 90:10-12). His prayer surely worked, for it was fervent in application and righteous in content (Jas 5:16).

Do you pray more for carnal things or spiritual things? When did you last pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5), a single heart to fear God (Ps 86:11), the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), God to make you keep His precepts (Ps 119:35-37), or the Lord to expose your errors (Ps 139:23-24)? If loving and pleasing God is your highest priority, you will have spiritual prayer requests. If you put spiritual requests first, God in heaven will take care of the rest.

When did you last wrestle with God for these things, refusing to take no for an answer? Importunate and persistent prayers get answers; comfortable and quick prayers of convenience do not (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18). May the Holy Spirit of prayer convict you to greater praying and assist your efforts to do it (Rom 8:26-27).

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 10:1-6  1By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, I and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Paul’s opponents questioned his authority. From 7:8-16 we know that the majority of Corinthian believers sided with Paul. However, a minority continued to slander him, saying that he was bold in his letters but had no authority in person. Chapters 10–13 are Paul’s response to this charge.

We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don’t need to use human plans and methods to win our battles. God’s mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan’s “strongholds.” The Christian must choose whose methods to use—God’s or the world’s. Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons—prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit—are powerful and effective (see Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God.

Lets Bring it Home: When dealing with people’s proud arguments that keep them from a relationship with Christ, we may be tempted to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God’s weapons.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 30:31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king with his army around him.

Here are three more things comely in their going, beautiful in the discharge of their gifts and offices (Pr 30:29-31)! The lion, the king of beasts, has already been described (Pr 30:30). If you meditate on these three things, there are lessons of wisdom to be found (Job 12:7-10; Ps 107:43; 119:96). The greyhound is beautiful by speed, the he goat by grave leadership, and an invincible king by irresistible authority. Delight in these traits!

Agur the son of Jakeh wrote this chapter of Proverbs (Pr 30:1). But God inspired his words by three counts. First, all Scripture is inspired, and Proverbs is part of Scripture (II Tim 3:16-17). Second, these proverbs by Agur were a prophecy, a revelation of God’s wisdom by inspiration (Pr 30:1; II Pet 1:19-21). Third, he warned against adding to God’s words (Pr 30:5-6; Rev 22:18-19). Therefore, we read these words as from God Himself.

Most of Agur’s proverbs are lists of things (Pr 30:11-31). The list here is four things that are comely in their going – beautiful in their appearance, movements, and conduct (Pr 30:29-31). The lion, already mentioned in the previous verse, has a bold and majestic walk, showing confident pride; he fears no creature, and he does not turn away from any (Pr 30:30). He is the king of beasts and illustrates boldness, confidence, and fearlessness.

What is beautiful about the greyhound? The greyhound is a slender, streamlined dog, having loins tightly girded for exceptional running speed. Its name has nothing to do with color, but rather with being a coursing dog, a hound that hunts by sight and pursuit. English gentlemen and pharaohs owned them, with references dated before 2000 B.C. The typical male greyhound weighs 70 lbs., and it can run short distances near 45 mph.

The greyhound is elegant, easygoing, and gentle. With long legs and tail, compact muscles, slender profile, and alert appearance, the greyhound is attractive, fast, and agile. With eyesight to see small moving objects at up to one half mile away, it was created and bred to hunt by sight and chase. It is comely in its going, whether walking elegantly or agilely chasing down a rabbit in an open field, a task only a cheetah could match.

What is beautiful about the he goat? With a long beard, magnificent horns, and constant presence at the head of the flock, the he goat presents a strong picture of grave and sober leadership. It was common knowledge that he goats go at the front of the flock (Jer 50:8). And God used a he goat as the powerful symbol for Alexander the Great (Dan 8:5-8), which is very fitting, as the Macedonians revered the goat. The he goat is an excellent guide and protector, illustrating the beauty of a faithful, patriarchal leader.

What is beautiful about an invincible king? It is hard to appreciate the authority of a king, against whom there is no rising up, since there are no more kings, other than figureheads. National rulers today have little authority or power in comparison. They must answer to legislators and courts, have their college conduct scrutinized, beg the votes of peasants to remain in power, obtain permission for vacations, cooperate with the media, shake hands and kiss babies, grin and wave like a mannequin, and justify every decision to scorners.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the greatest king (Dan 2:37-40; Jer 27:6-7; 28:14; Ezek 26:7). He was not voted into office; he answered to no one but God; opponents did not draw rude cartoons about him; he did not shake hands or kiss babies. He could start a new religion on a whim and enforce it with death by fire on every politician in the world (Dan 3:1-7). If you offended him, even if you were in his cabinet, he would have you cut in pieces, your house leveled, and a great pile of dung erected in its place (Dan 2:5; 3:29).

Solomon and David were great kings in their own right (II Sam 8:1-6; I Kgs 2:12; 4:20-28). They understood the power of a king, and they wrote about it. He was to be feared as the lion is feared in the jungle (Pr 16:14-15; 19:12; 20:2; 24:21-22; Eccl 8:2-5; 10:4,20). And he was to suppress all evil in his realm (Pr 14:35; 16:10; 20:8,26; 29:14). We know by Agur’s words that the trait we are to admire is his invincibility and irresistibility, which is declared by the words, “Against whom there is no rising up.” This is a beautiful thing, no matter what the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights imply.

What lessons can be learned by this list from the natural creation? First, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills all these traits perfectly; and second, Christians should also seek to fulfill them. It is not enough for you to be righteous: you should also be comely in going, by adding beauty and grace to every performance. It is by comely conduct in duties that Christians add glory and praise to their religion. Duty and righteousness are excellent, but the manner and spirit in which you do them adds to their beauty (Pr 22:11; Matt 5:16; I Cor 13:5; Gal 4:18; 5:6; Phil 1:27; Titus 2:1,9-10)! Christian, are you comely in going?

Are you bold and fearless like the lion in doing your Christian duties, regardless of opposition or threats (Pr 28:1; Job 32:1-14; Ps 119:98-100; Heb 13:6)? Are you quick to keep the commandments of God, like the greyhound (Ps 119:60; Gal 1:15-17)? Are you a leader by example in your marriage, family, and church, like the he goat (I Cor 16:13; Eph 4:16; 6:4)? Are you unmovable, like a great king, in defending God-ordained authority, righteousness, and the apostolic gospel (Pr 22:17-21; I Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3)?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and turns away from none (Rev 5:5). He destroyed the works of the devil, who is described as a roaring lion (I John 3:8; I Pet 5:8). He is like the greyhound, for he is quick in understanding (Is 11:3) and coming quickly (Rev 2:5,16; 3:11; 22:7,12,20). He leads His people, as their Apostle, Bishop, and great High Priest, much like the he goat. And there is no rising up against Him, for He is King of kings, the Blessed and Only Potentate (I Tim 6:13-16)! Hallelujah! Amen!

Under Gods Command

Proverb 30:21 Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up

The goal of wisdom is to please God and men (Pr 3:3-4; Luke 2:52), so Agur listed four kinds of people that are irritating and annoying. If you are wise, you will never be one, and you will reject those who are. Here are four kinds of people that disrupt the world, and you must learn to avoid being like them, being around them, or approving of them.

This chapter of Proverbs contains lists of things to teach wisdom (Pr 30:11-31). The wise prophet Agur used this method to teach inspired wisdom to Ithiel and Ucal (Pr 30:1-6). In this particular list, four kinds of people disquiet the earth – disturb the peace and pleasure of life. The earth cannot bear them; they are irritating and frustrating to most men.

Most men love a quiet life – one of peace, pleasure, and security. But that goal is ruined, if one of these four is near. You will be angered by their disrespectful and intolerable conduct. Relaxation and rest will be impossible, for they are bent on making life miserable for others, even though they never grasp how much they are despised.

The first is a “servant when he reigneth (ruled).” God made masters and servants, leaders and followers. When this divine order is altered, and a person God created to serve is put in authority, the power corrupts their weak character and makes them unbearable. Solomon despised this perversion of roles (Pr 19:10; Eccl 10:5-7). It is found today in labor unions, employee committees, some deacon boards, political polls, and spoiled children.

The second is a “fool when he is filled with meat.” Prosperity and pleasure are a curse to the fool, for they flatter his depraved soul and cause him to boast and offend. The best thing for a fool is a beating and starvation (Pr 20:4; 26:3). The worst thing you can give a fool is honor and kindness (Pr 19:10; 26:1,8). Such fools are found today in rebellious youth with pampered lives, athletes with excessive salaries, and actors with contracts.

The third is an “odious woman when she is married.” Here is a common curse to mankind – an irritating, overbearing, and obnoxious wife. Many men have had their lives ruined by these deplorable creatures. Solomon warned about her many times (Pr 11:22; 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15-16). She will hide her ugly soul and character while dating in order to entrap a foolish man, but after marriage he will discover marital hell. It is wise and important for young men to let married men interview their dates.

The fourth is a “handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” A female servant could become heir of her mistress by legitimate service, earning the approval of her mistress, or by marrying her master (Gen 16:1-4). Either the prospect or the possession of the mistress’s position had a subverting effect. Though of low origin and character, the servant would swell in pride and haughtiness. If promotion comes, men must remember their humble beginnings and reject arrogance. Today you see excessive divorce settlements, haughty politicians from slums, critical employees with stock option plans, and estate battles.

These four kinds of people ruin a peaceful and pleasant life. You must examine yourself to see if you are like any one of them, and repent before God and men if you are. Do you seek or have a position above your God-given abilities? Does your foolishness come out when prospered or in pleasure? Are you an overbearing woman? How many good men and women love your company? And are you from humble origins? Then stay humble!

You must also identify such people around you and oppose them. Do not approve promoting employees over employers. Do not allow fools to enjoy honor or pleasure. Do everything you can to keep odious girls and women single. Protect foolish young men. And remind those from poverty that their promotion is by God’s grace (I Cor 4:7).