Reader: “Every word of God proves true.”
Response: “He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.”
Scripture: Proverbs 30:1-9
The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.
I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know!
Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
Do not add to his words,
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
Reader: The word of the Lord
Response: Thanks be to God.
Have you ever felt like the above opening sentences? I’m tired Lord. Worn out; no energy; tired thinking. I feel dumb and do dumb things. And Lord, I really don’t know you very well at all. Agur hit the nail on the head. If we are honest, we aren’t always up and have things in order and under control. Why is it that we continually wrestle life to control it? The interesting thing is, acknowledging the above is actually the beginning of gaining wisdom! The five questions Agur asks all have the same answer and it is “Jesus.” He contrasts his own ignorance with the wisdom and power of God. The Lord is his strength and protection.
I’m struck with the single admonition not to add words to what God has said. Remember Eve in the Garden of Eden during her temptation? What did she do in answering the serpent’s challenge? She added words to what God had said. Jude says the same thing in the New Testament (v.3). I have to smile at his two favors from God before he dies. “Help me never tell a lie.” I greatly admire his transparency. If we are honest, we all lie; not always on purpose. But we do “slide from the whole truth” at times. His second request for a favor already shows how he is becoming wise and perhaps not as “stupid” as he earlier proclaimed!
You’ve all heard various answers to the question, “How much money is enough money?” John D. Rockefeller’s answer was “just a little more.” At the time his net worth was 1% of the entire US economy making Bill Gates and Warren Buffett look like paupers. Perhaps that is why Jesus said it is very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is too easy to be wed to this world with the feeling “I don’t need the Lord. I’ve got plenty of money for everything I want” forgetting Jesus’ words, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” (Lk. 12:20) My guess is Rockefeller would answer that question very differently now that the reality of eternity has set in.
Agur also makes an interesting connection between stealing and insulting God’s holy name. I must confess, I’m not always aware that I am representing God’s name. As a Christian, I am a member of God’s family. I am aware that I am a “Sharp” and represent my family and do not want to embarrass our family name. I have a heritage of a godly father, godly grandfathers, and some godly great grandfathers. I don’t want to be the one to “mess up” the family name. How much greater significance is representing God’s family name! When I do misrepresent my Lord, I am actually taking his name in vain. It seems to me that Agur was anything but “too stupid to be human!” Live today telling the truth, resting in the Lord and representing well both of your families’ names.
Music: “A Poor Wayfaring Stranger” Sam Robson Gorgeous! Eternal perspective.
Why is it, Lord, that we think trying to keep rules is enough? It’s so easy to be a Pharisee and feel good about ourselves that we haven’t done anything terrible, at least terrible in our eyes. We look at other people and we aren’t as rude as that driver, or as foul mouthed as that co-worker or as self-centered as our neighbor. We don’t talk about ourselves all the time when we are with others. We’re doing OK. But Lord, our hearts are deceptive and dull toward you. We read the Bible more from obligation rather than to converse with you. We pray once in a while or when we think of it, but we too seldom encounter you in our prayers. God of mercy, forgive our foolish ways. May our hearts burn for you. Don’t let us stay the same, please . . . please. In our Savior’s glorious name. Amen.