Proverbs 30 and 31
This Chapter was written by Agur to Ithiel and Ukal. He honestly acknowledged that he had neither wisdom, nor knowledge, nor understanding, vs 1-4, yet, what he wrote has been included as part of the book of Proverbs.
It is so good to be used by the Lord while maintaining a sober and honest estimate of ourselves. In vs 5, he mentions that every Word of God is pure and, therefore, has the ability to shield those who take refuge in Him.
However, adding to the Word and changing its meaning, to mean what God did not intend, would prove us to be liars, vs.5,6! Perhaps, that is the reason why he asks God to remove falsehood and lies far from him, lest he add to God’s Word and so lose the protective shield that it was meant to be to him, vs 7.
He also asks God to keep him from riches or poverty lest he either forget God or demean God’s Name, vs 8,9. Lying about a servant to his master could entail a valid curse, as it could make him lose his job or promotion, vs10. A generation who thinks itself to be pure in its own eyes, when it is actually filthy and filled with arrogance, scorn and pride, having no concern for the poor and needy, are the ones who most likely curse their father and do not bless or praise their mother.
They are just like a ‘leech’ who always wants to be served, vs 11-15,. As a result, when they are in trouble, (in a valley situation), the ravens will cause them harm, resulting in spiritual blindness, (instead of bringing them food, like they brought to Elijah) and such behaviour can even lead to their death, symbolised by the young vultures preying on their eyes, vs 17. This shows how important it is to honour one’s parents, however, certainly not at the cost of disobeying God’s Word!
Death and the fire of hell are never satisfied, but if we are spiritually barren and our soul thirsts for the living water of God’s Word and Spirit, then we can avoid both, spiritual death and the fire of hell as well, vs 15,16. Although it seems impossible to make a way in the sky, through a rock, through the sea and to unite a man and a woman, yet, God chooses to show, by using animals and human beings too, that with him nothing is impossible, vs.18, 19.
Whether we practice physical or spiritual adultery, it is very difficult to see our sin, unless the Word and the Spirit of God brings light and conviction, vs 20. It is unbearable to see a servant become a king, a fool stuffed with food, an unloved woman who is married and a female servant who takes her mistress’s place, vs 21,23, yet, in Christ Jesus we have been raised from being slaves to sin to our original position of being made sons and daughters of the living God!
Wisdom is more important than strength and this is clearly proved by the ant, the rock badger, the locust and the lizard, for despite their smallness in size, they accomplish great things because of their wisdom, vs 24-28. The lion, rooster, male goat and a king with his army around him, do well in life and are powerful leaders, despite their small stature, only because of their positive attitude, vs.29 -31.
The bottom-line being that if we have faltered in any of the above areas, it is vital that we humble our pride and set matters right while we still have the time, lest the inevitable takes over, resulting in eternal loss, vs 32,33.
This Chapter has been written by King Lemuel, as taught to him by his mother, vs 1. *She instructed him with enthusiasm and passion, vs 2, and her words impacted him in a way that made him write it down so that he would not forget them! She exhorted him about the kind of material that kings and queens needed to be made of. She said that the three things that a king needed to beware of was women, vs 3, wine and strong drink, vs 4, and doing injustice and unrighteousness to the poor and the needy, vs 5,8,9. She said that strong drink was not meant for kings, but for those who were perishing, bitterly distressed, miserable and poverty stricken, vs 6,7.
Indeed, what good words of advice to all of us who have been made kings and priests in Christ Jesus, 1Peter 2:9! He then went on to list the qualities of a woman of virtue. It is far better for a man to have her as a wife than have rubies instead, vs 10, for she will only do him good and bring him gain, all the days of her life, vs 11,12.
She is an asset to him in the following ways:
She does her own sewing for her household and cooks varied delicacies right in her home itself, vs 13,14,15,19. She is a shrewd businesswoman and is clothed in regal and exquisite apparel from her very own earnings, vs 16,19,21,22,24. She does not idle her time, even though she has maids working under her and makes sure that they are kept gainfully occupied, vs 15. She is an energetic and enthusiastic worker, thus keeping her body in good shape, 17.
Verse 18 could mean that she works well into the night and also that she does not curse, but blesses her parents, see Proverbs 20:20, (20:20 vision), thus enabling her to be like the wise virgins, whose lamp does not go out when Christ comes, Mathew 25:8. She is generous to the poor and needy, vs 20. She is unafraid of the future, because she has learnt the secret of living in the secret place of the Most High where there is fullness of joy and which is the source of her protection and strength, vs 25, Psalms 16:11, Psalm 91:1,2.
As a result the advice she gives is filled with wisdom and loving instruction, vs 26. Her industrious and hardworking disposition leaves her husband free to take up important roles of leadership in the workplace and Church too, vs 23. Naturally he is full of praise, adulation and gratitude for her and so are her children, vs 28,29. And lastly, but in no way the least, she is able to achieve all this not because she is charming or beautiful, but because she fears the Lord, vs 30,31! This and this alone is the reason for which she receives praise for her works at the city gates for all that she accomplishes is by God’s grace alone!
Let her example challenge each one of us to aspire to the high and holy calling to which we all have been called in Christ Jesus. Amen.