Morning Bible Study
The Bellers are coming home. Kim and the kids are back on May 24, and we’d
like their house to be ready to go
1 floor light
Electric Can opener
Coordinate with Lisa or Daniel if
you want to donate any items
Money – “Beller Fund”
For new mattresses, and to purchase vehicles
We could use some help on Saturday May 19, 10am, after the Second Harvest
Outreach. We will be going over to the
new house, set up beds, and whatever else is needed.
Let Lisa know if you can help.
The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.
Wisdom is not about knowing facts.
Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.
Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into
They are intended to help you lead a better life.
They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, then z will always happen and your life will be
They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be
generally better than if you didn’t do them.
We are now in a section that was written by a man named Agur. We don’t know anything about this man, except
that his name means “gathered”.
:7 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die):
Agur has two prayer requests for God.
:8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Here’s the first request.
:8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me
Truth is so important in our maturity.
NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him
who is the head—Christ—
Growing up is tied to “truth”.
I need to be paying attention to the “truth”.
I came across a news
article the other day about an Art Museum in Southern France that has just
discovered that more than half of it’s art collection
is made up of forgeries.
Paintings supposedly by Etienne Terrus
were purchased for around $200,000 by local cities. People have paid money to see these
They discovered the fraud when they realized some of the
buildings in the pictures were built after
the death of the painter.
How would you like to find out that you’ve invested so
much precious resources into something that wasn’t real?
While the world’s standards of “truth” are changing, God’s standards of
truth stay the same.
We need to invest our lives in God’s Word, which is truth.
I need to be careful that I am learning to be truthful about myself and
recognize things as they really are.
Sometimes we don’t want to face the “truth”, because it’s not very
Those in twelve step programs make it a point to learn what they call “rigorous
You don’t progress in life until you learn the importance
of being honest with yourself and honest with those around you.
Agur prays for truth.
:8 Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to
:9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say,
“Who is the Lord?” Or lest
I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
:8 Give me neither poverty nor riches
Here’s the second prayer request.
Agur said he didn’t want “too much”
Are you aware of how dangerous it is to win the Lottery?
We all have dreams of winning millions of dollars and what
we’d do with it, but the reality is very different.
New York Daily News did an article chronicling the lives of lottery
winners. It is not filled with pretty
stories. Some were murdered, kidnapped,
or ended up losing it all and dying broke.
Others went through divorces or lost family members through drugs and
crime. One man who researched it said, “You’d be surprised at how many winners
wished they’d never won.”
The worst part of getting “too much” is that you begin to think you don’t
need God in your life.
If Agur has too little, he might resort to
becoming a thief or bringing shame on God’s name.
The secret of life is finding contentment with what you have.
4:11–13 HCSB) —11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being
content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Have you learned the concept of “enough”?
:10 Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he
curse you, and you be found guilty.
:10 Do not malign a servant to his master
When we have problems with people, it’s not uncommon for us to wish we had
someone to take care of the problem for us.
As a pastor, it is not uncommon for folks to talk to me about some trouble
they are having with a person.
Though they rarely admit it, I’m pretty sure they think they’ve found their
“Trunk Monkey”, me. They hope I’ll go
rebuke the person and take care of the mess for them.
Jesus said we ought to do things differently.
NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his
fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Jesus will give further instructions of what to do if they
don’t respond to you talking with them, but don’t skip that first step.
If you have a problem with another person, do the harder
thing and talk to that person yourself.
Don’t skip the steps you need to take by jumping ahead and
asking their boss, friends, or pastor to take care of the issue.
Don’t write “anonymous” letters.
Talk in person.
A few weeks ago I received an “anonymous” letter
from someone criticizing someone on my staff.
I don’t mind helpful criticism, but when it’s anonymous,
there’s no way you can dialog over their questions or accusations.
There’s no way you can correct their misperceptions.
It is neither loving nor helpful.
Learn to talk to the person you’re having trouble with before you activate
your Trunk Monkey.
Agur is now going to give four examples of “bad
seeds”, people who do not do things God’s way.
:11 There is a generation that curses its father,
And does not bless its mother.
The Bible says we ought to honor our mother and father.
:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
:12 not washed from its filthiness
(Proverbs 30:12 The
Message) Don’t imagine yourself to be quite presentable when you
haven’t had a bath in weeks.
It’s something that Jr. High gym teachers have had as part of their
curriculum since eternity past, teaching young boys the value of taking a
shower and using deodorant.
Yet worse than body odor is the stench of not being right with God.
It’s one thing to not be right with God and know it, but quite another to
be filthy in the eyes of God and yet pretend to others and yourself that you
are just fine.
In Jesus’ day, there was no group that looked more “righteous” than the
They worked overtime to make sure that they did everything as correct as
The problem was that they smelled like Jr. High boys after gym class.
NLT) —25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you
Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup
and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind
Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside
will become clean, too. 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you
Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the
outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of
impurity. 28 Outwardly
you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with
hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Our walk ought to match our talk.
Our armpits ought to pass the “sniff test” to show we don’t smell like Jr.
What happens on the outside shows what’s on the inside.
Jesse James killed a fellow in a bank robbery and shortly
thereafter was baptized in the Kearney
Baptist Church. Then he killed another man, a bank cashier,
and joined the church choir and taught hymn-singing. He liked Sundays, Jesse did, but he couldn't
always show up at church. On two
Sundays, he robbed trains.
How can I be clean?
It starts by giving your heart to Jesus and admitting the truth.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He is faithful and correct to forgive our sins because He
made forgiveness possible when He paid the price tag of taking care of our
sins. He died for us.
When I learn to be honest with God about my sins and
failures, I will find true cleansing.
:13 There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their
eyelids are lifted up.
Agur is talking about pride.
:14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor
from off the earth, And the needy from among men.
(Proverbs 30:14 The
Message) Don’t be greedy, merciless and cruel as wolves, Tearing into the poor and feasting
on them, shredding
the needy to pieces only to discard them.
:15 The leech has two daughters— Give and Give!
:15 The leech has two daughters
The leech is a bloodsucking worm that attaches itself to you and sucks up
to three times its own weight in blood before it’s finished feeding.
This is a picture of the things that are never satisfied.
:15 There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
:16 The grave, The barren womb, The earth that
is not satisfied with water— And the fire never says, “Enough!”
:15 three things … four
The using of numbers like this is a literary device that Solomon used back
in Proverbs 6:16.
The literary formula is to state a number, then that number plus one (x and
The idea is to let you know that the writer is not giving a complete exhaustive list in his point, but just
some of the things that fit.
The second number is the one that the writer actually
uses in his list.
We’re going to see this literary device used four times in Proverbs 30. It’s also used in Job, Ecclesiastes, Amos,
So here’s four things that never say “enough”…
:16 The grave
The grave is never full. There’s
always room for more people to die.
:16 The barren womb
In ancient cultures a woman got her sense of worth from bearing
The painful truth is that a woman who wants to have children will have a
difficult time finding satisfaction until she has a baby.
:16 The earth that is not satisfied with water
Your lawn never says, “You never have to water me again” (unless you have
one of those plastic lawns)
:16 And the fire never says, “Enough!”
Fire needs to be fed or else it dies.
Just as we saw back in 30:8-9, we ought to ask ourselves, do we ever have
:17 The eye that mocks his father, And
scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it
out, And the young eagles will eat it.
The point is you get what you give.
If you don’t care for your parents, others won’t care for you, even when
:18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yes, four
which I do not understand:
:19 The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way
of a ship in the midst of the sea, And the way of a
man with a virgin.
:18 things which are too wonderful for me
Note how each thing has a “way” that’s hard to understand.
Agur can’t comprehend how:
An eagle flies.
A snake moves.
A ship sails the sea.
A man and his romantic relations with a woman.
Though we might have more knowledge of the first three things today, the
last one is still a mystery.
:20 This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her
mouth, And says, “I have done no wickedness.”
:20 the way of an adulterous woman
This is probably a “fifth” thing that Agur
doesn’t understand. It has a “way” too.
Some people can do such wickedness and never be bothered by it.
:21 For three things the earth is perturbed, Yes, for four it cannot
:22 For a servant when he reigns, A fool when he is filled with food,
:23 A hateful woman when she is married, And
a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.
:21 the earth is perturbed
There are some things that just cause people to say, “That’s just not
right”. Or, that just doesn’t add up.
When you see these four things, you can say, “It just ain’t
:22 a servant when he reigns
The sudden elevation of inexperienced, unqualified people to positions of
power and success.
(Proverbs 30:22 The
Message) when the janitor becomes the boss
“It just ain’t right”
:22 A fool when he is filled with food,
It’s when the mean, overbearing blasphemer does well.
NLT) …an overbearing fool who prospers
“It just ain’t right”
:23 A hateful woman when she is married,
She’s not good wife material. She’s
going to be a mean woman.
NLT) a bitter woman who finally gets a husband
“It just ain’t right”
:23 And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.
(Proverbs 30:23 The
Message) …when a “girlfriend” replaces a faithful wife.
“It just ain’t right”
The whole earth is bothered by these things.
Let’s skip the next couple of verses for a moment and jump to vs. 29
:29 There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which
are stately in walk:
:30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts And
does not turn away from any;
:31 A greyhound, A male goat also, And a king whose
troops are with him.
:31 greyhound – We’re not sure what the Hebrew refers to. Most
modern translations have “strutting rooster”.
:31 a king whose troops are with him
Four things look proud when they strut around.
It seems a bit of a dig to the king here – he only looks as important as
the troops around him.
:32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or
if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.
:33 For as the churning of milk produces butter, And
wringing the nose produces blood, So the forcing of wrath produces strife.
The Message) —32 If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending
people and making rude gestures, 33 Don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose. Churned milk
turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights.
Now back to vs. 24…
:24 There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise:
:25 The ants are a people not strong, Yet
they prepare their food in the summer;
:26 The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they
make their homes in the crags;
:27 The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance
:28 The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And
it is in kings’ palaces.
:24 they are exceedingly wise
These “little things” have some lessons to teach us.
the ants … prepare
All through the summer the ants work hard and save so they can be sustained
through the winter.
rock badgers … homes in the crags
We see these cute little fellows (also called “conies”) when we visit
Israel, typically at Ein Gedi.
They might not be powerful warriors, but they know how to find safety by
hiding in the rocks.
locusts … advance in ranks
Locusts have no “king”, yet they manage to travel with such effective
organization that they are devastating everywhere they go.
A swarm of locusts can cover 60 miles a day and eat food that would feed 2,500
people in a day.
spider … kings’ palaces
spider – s@mamiyth – a kind of lizard
(Proverbs 30:28 The
Message) lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.
Small but effective
You don’t have to be big and famous to make a difference.
God used a young lad named David to slay a giant.
God used a little boy with a lunch to feed 5,000.
Find out what you’re good at.
And do it.
Learn the lessons of the animals:
Like an ant, learn to save for a rainy day.
Like a rock badger, you can find safety from danger.
Like a locust, learn to work with others.
Like a lizard, you don’t have to be big to live in the King’s Palace.
Be careful about saying, “I’m not that important”.
Little ones can make wise choices.