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Proverbs 30:7–33

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 6, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm


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

Items needed:
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 everyday things.

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 perfect”.

They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be generally better than if you didn’t do them.

I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through each chapter.

Though we will read the entire chapter, I won’t be taking time to unpack every single proverb.

God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.

It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.

The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…

Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.

Most of these proverbs are in two lines.

Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first, but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.

We are now in a section of that dates to 250 years after Solomon. King Hezekiah had a group of scholars collect an additional group of 100 of Solomon’s proverbs.

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”.

Proverbs 30

: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



falsehoodshav’ – emptiness, vanity, falsehood
lieskazab – a lie, untruth, falsehood, deceptive thing
Agur might be talking about people who are telling him lies, but he can just as much be talking about his own life – that he isn’t the one telling the lies.
Truth is so important in our maturity.
(Ephesians 4:15 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 paintings.

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 pleasant.
Those in twelve step programs make it a point to learn what they call “rigorous honesty”

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 me;

: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.

The 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.
Paul wrote,
(Philippians 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

malignlashan – to use the tongue, slander; to accuse


Proper Confrontation

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.
Video:  Trunk Monkey

or this…

Video:  Trunk Monkey Theft Retrieval System
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.
(Matthew 18:15 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 Pharisees.
They worked overtime to make sure that they did everything as correct as they could.
The problem was that they smelled like Jr. High boys after gym class.
(Matthew 23:25–28 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. High boys.
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.

:14 whose teeth are like swords

The world seems to go through these cycles where we drift so far from God that people don’t seem to care about things like compassion and mercy.

You see it in the book of Judges when “every man did what was right in his own eyes”.
You see it in world history where the Assyrians were known for skinning people alive.
You see it in 1930s Germany, when a ruler rose up and began gathering up all the Jews, placing them in concentration camps, and methodically exterminating millions.

I’m afraid that in our current post modern world, where our culture no longer values the morality of the Scriptures, that we will drift further and further towards these things.

:15 The leech has two daughters— Give and Give!

:15 The leech has two daughters

leechaluwqah – leech – a bloodsucking worm. 

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. 

Some ancients thought this word was a “vampire” instead of a leech.

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.

(Proverbs 6:16 NKJV) These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

The literary formula is to state a number, then that number plus one (x and x+1)

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, and Micah.

It is also used in Job 5:19; Eccl. 11:2; Amos 1:6, 9, 13; 2:1, 4, 6; Mic. 5:5.

So here’s four things that never say “enough”…

:16 The grave

gravesh@’owl sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit

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 children. 

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 “enough”?

: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 you’re dead.

:17 The ravens of the valley will pick it out

Want to see pictures?

An eye that’s being plucked out by a bird is one belonging to a body that is dead and not buried.

It’s not buried because no family member has claimed it.

This is a picture to tell you that you get what you give. 

You could almost say “an eye for an eye” (ouch)
Jesus said,
(Matthew 7:2 NLT) For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

: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

too wonderfulpala– to be marvelous, be wonderful, be surpassing, be extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action

Each phrase uses the word “way”, and Agur just does not understand how each thing makes it’s “way”.

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 bear up:

: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

perturbedragaz – tremble, quake, rage, quiver, be agitated, be excited, be perturbed

There are some things that just cause people to say, “That’s just not right”.  Or, that just doesn’t add up.

Video:  Abbot & Costello – 7 into 28

When you see these four things, you can say, “It just ain’t right”.

: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.

(Proverbs 30:22 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.

(Proverbs 30:23 NLT) a bitter woman who finally gets a husband

hatefulsane’ – to hate, be hateful

“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”.

mothen – loins, hips; perhaps an extinct animal, exact meaning unknown

: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.

(Proverbs 30:32–33 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 in ranks;

: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

rock badgersshaphan – rock badger, coney, hyrax
We see these cute little fellows (also called “conies”) when we visit Israel, typically at Ein Gedi.
They look like a cross of a house cat and a hamster.
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

spiders@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.