Proverbs 30:1-9 The Wisdom of Agur-Living a godly life-part 1
Created by Jon Taylor - Sunday 19 Aug 2018
Jon Taylor
Proverbs 30:1-9 The Wisdom of Agur-Living a godly life-part 1
What does a godly life look like? Agur is a fascinating character who we know little about, though he may have been a contemporary of Solomon. It is obvious that he was a godly man; yet his opening statement upon the first occasion of reading is somewhat bewildering and doesn’t appear to constitute a suitable introduction for a solid spiritual CV. He describes himself as ‘more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man, I neither have learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One’ (Prov. 30:2-3).’
Cursory reading would leave us with an inadequate and shallow assessment of what he is communicating. Agur unashamedly exhibits humility. He considers himself realistically and objectively in the light of God’s greatness, holiness and sovereignty. He recognises his inadequacy in a way reminiscent of Asaph in Psalm 73:22. He isn’t merely lamenting for its own sake but is rather confessing a profound statement of humility before God.
When we apply that thought, it is evident that humility isn’t berating ourselves in a monastic sense but is growing in our appreciation of the glory of God. Our attention will increasingly become more towards glorifying Him and less about ourselves.
As ever Matthew Henry summarised it helpfully ‘The more enlightened people are, the more they lament their ignorance, the more they pray for clearer, still clearer discourses of God, and His rich grace in Christ Jesus.’[i]
God’s Sovereignty
In addition to his humility, Agur recognises God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is more than the total of His attributes, which couldn’t be measured anyway; but also involves his personal intervention in our lives. God brings about the rise and fall of empires, whilst simultaneously performing a great work in our seemingly insignificant lives. Consider that Deists believe that God is all powerful, yet they understand Him as folding His arms and watching His created order simply getting on with life. If we are not careful it is easy for us to start slipping down that same avenue of thinking…Does Agur think that way? Not so! Agur testifies that ‘He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him(v4b).’Notice, it is not for us to fold our arms or wait for God idly either. Whilst we are entirely dependent on Him, waiting on the Lord is an active process involving expectant and fervent prayer that trusts in Him implicitly.
Many of our problems stem from failing to trust in the sovereignty of God in our lives. Our worldview is affected by how we trust in the sovereignty of God. It affects the way that we pray to Him, relate to Him and petition Him and how we expect Him to work in our lives, so that His purposes can be worked through us and that we can be an instrument for His glory.
The rhetorical questions Agur asks in verse 4 concerning the immensity of His creation reveal that man is as a worm compared with his Creator. Like Job, he considers God’s splendour and is astonished by the scope and magnitude of His dominion. Creation gives us an indication of God’s ability, but is not enough to know Him personally, hence why in Acts 17 in the Areopagus, there was an altar to the unknown God.
Knowing God’s name
Agur asks ‘What is His name?’ Agur knows the short answer but that isn’t why he asked that question. God’s name is more than a term used to identify Him. In Exodus 3 when Moses met the Angel of the Lord in the burning bush, he asked God what to say to the children of Israel, when they enquired ‘What is His name (Exod. 3:14)?’Yahweh means ‘I AM WHO I AM’ and speaks of God’s eternal qualities and His perfections.
It is ironic that when Pharaoh was approached by Moses and Aaron to let the people go, he refused since he said he didn’t know the Lord. Nonetheless God’s name would have revealed to Pharaoh that he wasn’t sovereign as he supposed. The greatness of Yahweh would be revealed to Pharaoh through the plagues and miraculous events and would demonstrate to Israel and Egypt that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived up to His mighty name. God’s name and His titles give us confidence in Him, especially when we consider how we petition Him according to His unchanging character and providential care towards us. We can pray to God in the light of His covenants and the promises contained in His Word.
Agur then asks, ‘What is His Son’s name?’ The Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour and is not far off. Though He brought the world into being, He dwelt among us and they called Him Immanuel, God with us.
Some people contend that they need to see God and to speak to Him and they would wish that God would come to earth among us. Yet that is exactly how the Father loved the world by sending His Son as a propitiation for our sins. The Saviour satisfied the wrath of God, became a sin offering for us and delivers those who believe in Him from a lost eternity and separation from Him. We are required to repent, trust, believe and follow Him. He came that we might have an abundant life, so a godly life will be one of sacrificial service for Him.

[i] Matthew Henry Matthew Henry Concise Commentary (Moody Press, Chicago), p485

Sunday 19 Aug 2018