The Advent Proverb: 30:4

“Who has ascended to heaven and come down?

    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?

Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?

    Who has established all the ends of the earth?

What is his name, and what is his son’s name?

    Surely you know!”

Proverbs 30:4 ESV

The English word advent comes to us from the Greek by way of Latin. Adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia (παρουσία), which means arrival or presence.

In Christian theology advent has at least three referents: Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, his second coming, and his presence in the heart of every believer.

In this proverb of Agur, the first and last questions frame the idea for me calling this the Advent Proverb: Who has ascended to heaven and come down? What is his name, and what is his son’s name?

As we move toward the celebration of Christmas, let’s remember the humility of Jesus coming as a babe in the manger. But let us not forget that he is the one who gathered the wind in his fist, wrapped up the waters in a garment, and established all the ends of the earth? Finally, let us not forget that the one who did all that is also the one he humbled himself to die on a cross for our redemption (Philippians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Hebrews 9:12, 1 Peter 2:24)

Proverbs 29:11

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

Proverbs 29:11 ESV

How often do you “blow your lid”? How frequently do you say something like, “You don’t understand, I just have to vent”? According to this proverb, if that is your pattern, you may be a fool. Or, at least, foolish in that moment. On the other hand, if you maintain your composure and are measured in difficult circumstances, that is an indication of the presence of wisdom.

This does not remove any emotion from life. If the building is on fire, please yell, “FIRE!!” But, let’s not make a big thing out of a small thing in order to give some measure of justification to our foolishness. For example, if the restaurant is currently out of vanilla ice cream, there’s no need to ask for the manager or let everyone within earshot know how upset you are that there is no vanilla ice cream. If you do, you are a fool. Wisdom says, “Let it go.”

Proverbs 28:10

“Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.”

Proverbs 28:10

Be aware and careful how you influence others.

Jesus made a similar point: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6 ESV).

Proverbs 27:17

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17 ESV

Proverbs 26:12

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?

    There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 26:12 ESV

Self praise is so dangerous. This book of Proverbs is filled with warnings about the danger of being a fool. Yet here, it seems to say there is something worse than being a fool, and that something is being filled with appreciation of self.

Be careful. Be careful. Be careful. As Proverbs 27:2 (ESV) says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”

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