Summary: What can we learn from ants, locust, rock badgers and lizards when it comes to the church?
Well here we are. If Psalm 117 is indeed the middle chapter of the bible, and it is, then we are in a physical sense half way through the book. However that being said there are a lot more book in this half then there was in that half. Proverbs is the 20th book of the Bible out of 66, so it’s 20 down 46 to go. The bulk of the proverbs were written by Solomon but not all of them there are also contributions by Agur and Lemuel. The Proverbs were generally written to the people of Israel but more specifically they were aimed at young people who were just starting out on their journey. When were they written? Solomon ruled as King of Israel between 970 and 930 BC so that’s when they were written and they were compiled together in their present form around 700 BC. Why were they written? To show how godly wisdom merges with real life.
You don’t hear a lot of preaching from the book of Proverbs it tends to get neglected from the pulpit. Not because it’s too deep or too profound. Quite the opposite it’s because it’s really quite self explanatory. Especially in the modern translations it speaks for itself. The books of Ezekiel, Daniel and the Revelation they need explaining. This collection of sayings, and that what proverbs are a truth condensed into a few words, really explain themselves.
These are the epitome of preaching. You know you’ve blown it as a preacher when someone has to explain what you said. It has been said that the theologian takes the simple and makes it difficult and the preacher takes the difficult and makes it simple. We are told that John Wesley would first preach his messages to a servant and anything they couldn’t understand he changed. The evangelist Billy Sunday warned other preachers of the dangers of preaching to the intellectual giraffes in their congregations.
No danger of that with most of the proverbs. Proverbs 17:28 Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent; when they keep their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. Proverbs 17:12 It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in folly. Proverbs 12:11 Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time. Proverbs 10:1 A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother. Even when they make you go “Hey, that’s not nice!” you can appreciate the truth. How about Proverbs 27:15 A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day.
This is good stuff and all 31 chapters are chock full of it. This morning we are going to look at the second from the last chapter, chapter 30, which was written by Agur the son of Jakeh. We know very little about the author of these 33 verse other then his father’s name. Some people believe that he may have been a believing non-Jew, what referred to as a “God Fearer”, but that is only speculation. We do know that he was a contemporary of Solomon’s and was considered wise enough to be included in this book of wisdom. If we divide this chapter up we discover that the first 9 verses were personal observations. Vs 1-4 about the author’s knowledge of God, 5-6 his revelation of God and 7-9 records his prayer to God. From there we get several numerical proverbs woven into the fabric of his wisdom. Things like Proverbs 30:15-16 There are three other things—no, four!—that are never satisfied: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert and the blazing fire. And in Proverbs 30:18-19 There are three things that amaze me—no, four things I do not understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. Kind of as an after thought to that one he adds. Proverbs 30:20 Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetite, shrug her shoulders, and then say, “What’s wrong with that?” Ouch. Then in Proverbs 30:21-23 There are three things that make the earth tremble—no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress. In closing Agur writes Proverbs 30:29-31 There are three stately monarchs on the earth—no, four: