Proverbs 30:15-16

The leech has two daughters:
    Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
    the land never satisfied with water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

Proverbs 30:15-16 ESV

In this passage, Agur uses the image of a leech to describe a negative characteristic or trait of a self-absorbed person; the person who only says, “Give me.” For this person, enough is never enough. “Give me,” he says. For this person, the focus is always self. “Give me,” he says. For this person the needs or supply of another is of no consequence. “Give me,” he says.

To make his point more clear, Agur uses a few more images of things that are never satisfied: the grave, the barren womb; the land in drought; and a fire.

The point: Don’t be like the leech. Don’t always say, “Give me.”

Proverbs 30:3

Neither have I learned wisdom,

Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.

Proverbs 30:3 ESV

This verse follows the pattern of Proverbs in making the direct connection between wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One, God. Thus, it is a good reminder that to pursue wisdom is actually to pursue knowledge of God. You can’t become wise if you do not pursue knowledge of the Holy One.

Proverbs 30:5-6

“Every word of God proves true;

 he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Do not add to his words,

 lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”

Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV

Here is an important warning about how to handle God’s word. In other words, “Believe it and don’t mess with it.”

A few more similar warnings:

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV

“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19 ESV

Proverbs 30:7-9

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 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.”

Proverbs 30:7-9

Agur, the son of Jakeh, offers some wisdom that is very helpful to “those who have ears to hear.” In this proverb he ask for two things before he dies.

First, he asks that falsehood and lying be removed far from him. The alert reader will notice that integrity is a recurring theme in Proverbs. The wise person will take note and accept the instruction (Proverbs 19:20), and begin to eliminate falsehood from his life.

Second, Agur asks that he be supplied with the right amount for his needs. He recognizes that should he have more than enough, he may think he doesn’t need the Lord, thus denying the Lord. And, should he have too little, he may resort to his own ways to provide, thus profaning the Lord’s name.

Agur is wise. He recognizes his own need for God and shapes his thoughts around how he can maintain a good relationship with his God. In other words, he is thoughtful to keep himself in the right place, under God and dependent upon God.

Lord, help me to be wise like Agur.

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 who 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)

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