Fruit of Love

Continuing the conversation from yesterday, I want to consider our relationships in terms of fruit.  This conversation starts with a self-examination and as I take these thoughts and look inward and at the results I am getting, I invite you to do the same. 

Specifically, I want to look at the target or what I want to be seeing in my life.  In looking at the standard and comparing what I am seeing in my life, the goal is to reflect on God’s word, respond in prayer, and refocus my activity towards the Gospel and my relationships with my brothers and sisters.  Fruit of the Spirit vs. Fruit of the Flesh. What does this mean to me? 

In Galatians 5:22-23, we see that a fruit of the spirit is LOVE…which is agape and a love of choice that is we choose Jesus and in His service choose the highest good for others.  We should see ourselves elevating the needs of others above our own and even if it hurts, is tough, comes at a cost, or takes a lot of effort we will decide and commit to resisting selfish words, actions and thoughts.

This is the kind of LOVE God has poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5) and this kind of LOVE furthers a deeper love for God as our Father (Romans 8:14-15; Galatians 4:6) and will spill over into our relationships (1 John 4:10-11, 16, 21) in which God is further glorified.

The LOVE of God should be center stage in our lives.  We are to walk in LOVE (Ephesians 5:1-2) and we should love one another fervently (1 Peter 1:22).  LOVE as a decision/choice is fruit bore out of our relationship with God and is therefore the “tie that binds” and “garment” we as Christians put on (Colossians 3:12-14).  “Loose” connections in our relationships or allowing our own personal preferences or desires guide our thoughts, words, or actions is an indicator that we need to take a step back and choose different so that we might act different.  LOVE God and be positioned to LOVE each other which should be our primary motive in everything we do (1 Corinthians 16:14).  Further, LOVING as God has LOVED us will prevent our liberty in Christ from becoming destructive selfishness (Galatians 5:13).

Again, I invite you to reflect on the above passages in God’s word and examine your life and your relationships.  Be prayerful and consider what you see?  Do you see people who are getting stronger and relationships that are getting more and more united or do you see strife, confusion, hurt, anger, division?  Based on what you see, what part are you playing?  Are you holding fast to God’s love…allowing it to fill your heart…so that you can pour it out to others? 

Past-Present-Future

Many of you who know me know that I am an Air Force veteran, a student of history, and very much enjoy learning about military history.  There is a quote that you might have heard that goes something like “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana first said this in 1905 but most remember Winston Churchill saying ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” during a speech in 1948. 

This is wise counsel and biblical.

Consider this passage from Romans 15 (1-5):

We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hopeNow may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has given us His Word and it is for our learning and it takes work and time…but in the verse above we see that God (through His Word) is patient and if we learn from Him we will have comfort and hope. Further, we can be link-minded with God toward our brethren and we will then be able to strengthen one another and glorify God. 

This is what is on my heart today and what I want to discuss with you over the next several days.  I want us to be united and to learn from God’s Word together so that we can edify one another, be strong when another is weak, love always…hold the line in the great spiritual battle we are engaged in. 

Let’s look at these attributes through the lens of self-examination and determination as to whether or not we are exhibiting them towards our brethren and if not what can we do differently so that we might have patience and be a comfort to each other as God is to us.

Spiritual Fruit not Fleshly Fruit.  That is the objective…what God expects of us.  Gentleness.  Continual self-examination.  Willingness to bear one another’s burdens.  Humility.  Ample knowledge of God’s Word.  Patience.  Sincere and demonstrated love. 

Let’s look at these together over the next several days and I invite you to look around and examine your relationships in Christ.  What do you see?  Do you see people who are getting stronger and relationships that are getting more and more united or do you see strife, confusion, hurt, anger, division?  Based on what you see, what part are you playing?  What fruit are you bearing?  Why?

We are not perfect nor will we ever be.  But we are in this together and we are saved by a Lord who was perfect but was willing to take on the burden of all of our imperfection and sins to the point of death on the cross so that we would be perfected and be able to go home to Abba Father in heaven.  Seems to me, with an example and an Elder Brother like that…we should be willing to do whatever we can in our life to bear spiritual fruit for the sake of our own soul and the souls of those around us.  We need to look in the mirror, examine our fruit, and if we don’t like what we see understand that we are going to have to be different or our history will be our present and will be our future.  Love you all!

Repaid At The Resurrection

I read something in Luke 14 a few weeks ago that stood out to me. It’s what Jesus said in Luke 14: 12-14.

“And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’”

WOW. I love that, don’t you?

Earlier in the chapter, we find Jesus going into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread. I don’t know about you, but this whole encounter is very interesting.

First, it was on the Sabbath. Earlier, in Luke 13, one of the synagogue officials was indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He would soon do the same thing again in Luke 14.

Second, the fact that Jesus went into the house of one of the Pharisees is powerful. While so many of the Pharisees treated him wrongly, Jesus never retaliated with evil. This particular man wasn’t just any Pharisee, he was one of the leaders of the Pharisees.

While Jesus is at this man’s house, he will use it to teach a variety of lessons. He would expose the wicked hearts of many who were in attendance. He would heal a man with dropsy and then ask the lawyers and Pharisees a question that they would not answer. Jesus would give a parable teaching about humility. Many of the Pharisees needed to hear that parable.

Now to the verses I mentioned earlier. Jesus spoke to the man who invited him to eat. He would teach a very simple yet powerful message. Don’t just invite people who may be able to give you something in return. Invite those who will not be able to give you anything in return. While you will not receive an immediate repayment, you will be repaid at the resurrection.  It can be easy to do certain things looking for some kind of reciprocation on the part of others. Yet, Jesus is helping us to see it’s not about what others may be able to give to us. God sees what we do. Those good deeds will not go unnoticed.

I must have considered these passages in the past because in the margin of my Bible I have written, “Luke 6…Do Good.” Jesus spoke about doing good back in that chapter. He’s teaching the same thing in Luke 14.  Let’s do good. We will be repaid at the resurrection.

Rejoice

One of the great benefits of using some kind of marking system in your Bible is that it will help with recall. It will help certain themes stand out. This is especially true when reading Luke 15.

This is a familiar chapter to many, particularly with the story of the son who squandered his estate with loose living, Luke 15:13. There would be great joy when he returned. But prior to this story, we see the theme of rejoicing.

“Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” Luke 15:6.

“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” Luke 15:7.

“When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’” Luke 15:9.

“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate” Luke 15:23-24.

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found” Luke 15:32.

Reading this chapter should cause us to rejoice.

First, we should rejoice because at one time we too were lost. But thankfully, through the grace of God, we have been redeemed from our sins. We should rejoice.

Second, we should rejoice because when it comes to doing God’s great work of evangelism, it truly is a blessing when a soul is saved. One of my favorite passages in this chapter is verse 7. The fact that even heaven rejoices when one person repents is so cool to think about. While many of us may never make the front page of a newspaper or have thousands of followers on social media, we can know that there was joy in heaven when we repented from our sins and began to follow Jesus. I love to use this verse after someone has been baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

The story of the son who was lost but then returned back home is a great story for us to think about. From this story, we should ask ourselves how we respond when a person repents. Are we filled with great joy? Are we excited and welcome them back into the fold with open arms? When we hear of someone obeying the gospel, do we feel the same excitement? Heaven rejoices, but are we rejoicing?

Jesus loved all men. He still does. He had mercy and compassion for those who were in sin. He spent time around the outcasts of His society. He would eventually die for them.

When a person is lost and then found, let us be sure to rejoice. Let’s appreciate what has truly taken place.

Don’t Say It Unless You Mean It

A few years ago, a sister in Christ asked me if I would pray for her. I can’t remember exactly what was happening in her life, but I said I would. A few weeks later as I was walking into the building for worship services, she came to me and said, “Did you pray for me?” Sadly, I responded by saying, “No. I forgot to pray.” Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

“I will pray for you.”

Prayer is powerful because we serve a powerful God. Prayer is essential for Christians. I think the mere idea of knowing others are praying for you is comforting and encouraging. Which is why it’s important that when we say we are going to pray, we actually pray. We find throughout the scriptures where the apostle Paul petitioned the brethren to pray for him. In Colossians 4:2-4, Paul said, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

Paul desired prayers from his brethren. In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul said, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

I’m sure the disciples followed through on those prayers. When it comes to praying for one another, we should strive to do the same. I’m learning I need to ensure I follow through with what I say I’m going to do. Below are some simple things to know and do so we can ensure we pray for one another.

1. Remember that God listens. When we truly grasp the fact that God hears our prayers, is attentive to our cries, and will move on our behalf, then we will have a desire to pray like never before. Nehemiah recognized this, Nehemiah 1:1-11. Understanding this will help us to follow through when it comes to prayer.

2. Pray immediately. When the sister asked me to pray for her, I should have stopped everything at that very moment and prayed. Whether it was a silent prayer or a verbal prayer, hitting the pause button and praying immediately is a great thing to do. If you can do it with the person making the request, that’s even better.

3. Have a prayer list. I know some Christians have something like this where they will write down what it is they need to pray about. I think that’s great. It’s a way to avoid forgetting someone who is in need.

4. Carve out time to pray. Like anything else, we need to be intentional when it comes to prayer. It needs to a part of our daily routine. It needs to be something we expect to do daily. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, Mark 1:35. Maybe it’s a set time in the middle of the day, Luke 5:16. Whenever it is, try to be consistent when it comes to praying. Someone is going to ask you to pray for them. Be sure to follow through.   

Control Your Tongue

The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, Galatians 5:23. God expects us to live a life of self-control.

In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Every day we must make a choice whether or not we are going to take our cross and follow Jesus. Every day we must make a choice and decide if we are going to live with self-control.

Paul reminds us we are to have self-control in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he said this: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching I myself should be disqualified.”

There are so many different things we could talk about when it comes to self-control. I want to focus on the tongue. The Bible says a lot about the tongue.

Listen to what is mentioned in James 3:6-10, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

WOW! The tongue is powerful. We need to be careful with how we use it. I want to focus on one phrase from the text in James.

“My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

There are some things that ought not to be when it comes to what we say.

Complaining out not to be. Lying ought not to be. Gossiping ought not to be. Belittling ought not to be. Profane words ought not to be.

We could probably add more to the list. The tongue is powerful. We need to control it. Our words should be gracious, seasoned with salt, Colossians 4:6.

This week let’s really focus on our words. Let’s focus on controlling our tongue.

As you go throughout the week, be sure to hide God’s word in your heart, Psalm 119:11. Remember the blessings He’s given you. Use your tongue to give thanks to Him in prayer, in song, and in your daily conversations.

Be quick to hear and slow to speak, James 1:19. Control your tongue. Use it to give glory to God.

Control Your Time

No one had a busier schedule than Jesus. When His ministry began, He was constantly on the move. People wanted His time and attention.

In Mark 1:32-38 it says, “When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door.

And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’ He said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.’”

Jesus was on a mission. He was on a timetable. He knew what needed to be done and where He needed to be. No one has had a busier schedule than our Savior.  But even though He was busy, He still made time to pray.

In Luke 6:12 it says, “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” I’m sure Jesus was tired at the end of a long day. But He made time for prayer.

The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, Galatians 5:23. God expects us to live a life of self-control.

Have you ever felt that there was simply not enough time in the day? I’m sure most of us have said something like that in the past. The reality is, we all have the same amount of time.

The challenge for many is how we go about utilizing our time on a daily basis. I believe we all have plenty of time in the day to get the necessary things done.

Someone has said, “We get to decide how busy we are.” I love that quote. It’s so true. We can tell everyone, “I’m so busy…” However, we get to decide how busy we are going to be. We only have a limited amount of time. Therefore, the things that truly matter can’t be neglected. Jesus gives us some things that we can do to be wise with our time.

1. Wake up early! That will take self-control. I’m not going to tell you when you should wake up. But waking up a few minutes earlier each day will give us time to get our minds right as we face the world. It will give us time to pray to our Father in heaven. It will give us time to read our Bibles. It will give us time to be thankful.

2. Redeem your evening. I know people are tired after working a long day at work. We may feel like we don’t have time to pray, to study, or to assemble on Wednesday nights, but typically we always do. Jesus prayed all night.  Let’s make time to begin and end our day praying to God. It may mean turning off electronics a few minutes earlier. It may mean saying NO to something or someone and saying YES to time alone with God. Redeem the time.

God’s Wish

The apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were standing firm in the grace of God. They were suffering various trials. Peter reminded them what they had already learned from the apostles, 2 Peter 3:1-2. As he spoke about mockers that would come, he spoke about the patience of God in verse 9. He said, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

The promises of God will come to pass. One day He will return. We don’t know the day or the hour, but it will happen. He will return like a thief in the night, 2 Peter 3:10. What an amazing day that will be for those who are in Jesus Christ! We will be with our Savior for eternity. However, it will be a sad day for those who have rejected Jesus. For those who decided not to follow Him, it will be a bad day.

Yet God is patient. As Peter said, God doesn’t desire for anyone to be lost. That is good news! Many in the world don’t have a good understanding of God. Many believe He is a mean God who wants people to spend eternity in hell. That is not the case. Read 2 Peter 3:9 again. Peter said: “Not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” God’s wish is that no one will perish, but rather come to repentance and serve Him! The God of the Bible is one who loves all men. We know that because He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, John 3:16. God is love, 1 John 4:8. All men have an opportunity to be with Him in heaven. Throughout the scriptures, we have seen the patience of God.

  1. In the book of Jonah and other books of prophecy, we see the patience of God. He gave wicked Nineveh an opportunity to repent, In Jonah 3:10 it says, “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” Those in Nineveh were given a second chance. They repented. God is patient.
  2. God is still patient. He has sent His Son, so we could be saved from our sins.  We have His words preserved for us, so we can know Him and His will. The gospel continues to be proclaimed throughout the world, so men can be saved. God is patient. He desires all men to be saved. He desires all men to repent.

Let us never abuse the patience of God. Let us not take for the granted the opportunities He gives us to repent. Let us continue to talk to others about Jesus. Why? Because God’s wish is that none will perish. Ultimately, people have to make a decision to follow Him.  For some people, it may take a long time. Like God, we will have to be patient. We must continue to pray. We must continue to shine our lights. We must continue to help. This is God’s wish. Let’s make it our wish as well.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 31

Here we are at Day 31!

Proverbs 31:1-31 (1) The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: (2) What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? (3) Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. (4) It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, (5) lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. (6) Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; (7) let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. (8) Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. (9) Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (10) An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (11) The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. (12) She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (13) She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. (14) She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. (15) She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. (16) She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (17) She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. (18) She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. (19) She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. (20) She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. (21) She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. (22) She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. (23) Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. (24) She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. (25) Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (26) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (27) She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (28) Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: (29) “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (30) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (31) Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

What are you doing? (vs. 1-10). I love this section of Proverbs 30. The mom says to her son, “What are you doing?” There are things that will destroy a king, and there are things that will destroy anyone who is not a king. The king’s mother also warned him about women, the wrong sort of women (vs. 3). Momma will follow up here later to talk about the right kind of woman. There is a time for alcohol, this Proverb teaches, but those times and amounts are limited. Alcohol will distort your ability to discern between right and wrong, so watch out for it! What should a king be doing? Opening his mouth to plead the cause of the helpless and needy. So should anyone who isn’t a “king.” That is what God’s people should be doing.

A virtuous wife (vs. 11-31). We began the book of proverbs looking at two kinds of women, two pathways, two choices. We end the book of Proverbs considering the kind of woman that God praises and that we should praise too! Remember from the beginning of this chapter that this advice and picture of a godly woman came from a godly mother who was counseling her son! I hope that we as Christian men do not read this section of Scripture and come up with unrealistic expectations for all of the things our wives must do to be pleasing to God (really to us). This is, I believe, a composite picture of the wonderful things that a godly woman is, says and does. She is a teacher of good things. This woman loves her family dearly and cares for them in a sacrificial way. She works hard to provide for her family in whatever way necessary. A godly woman is thoughtful of so many things and people. She sees those in need and reaches out to them. In her wisdom she sees the “winters” of life coming and prepares her household for them. Notice that the husband safely trusts in her. He is not micromanaging her affairs. He’s got his own work to do. But look at how the husband and the kids rise up and praise her. This is so important. Praise that woman, do not wait for Mother’s Day!

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 30

Here we are at Day 30! Tomorrow is the last day of our 31 days of Proverbs.

Proverbs 30:1-33 (1) The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle. The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. (2) Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. (3) I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. (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! (5) Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (6) Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (7) Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: (8) Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, (9) 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. (10) Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty. (11) There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. (12) There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth. (13) There are those–how lofty are their eyes, how high their eyelids lift! (14) There are those whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mankind. (15) 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.” (17) The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (18) Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: (19) the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin. (20) This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.” (21) Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up: (22) a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food; (23) an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. (24) Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: (25) the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; (26) the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; (27) the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; (28) the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces. (29) Three things are stately in their tread; four are stately in their stride: (30) the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any; (31) the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him. (32) If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. (33) For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Agur’s relationship with God (Verses 1-9). The author here, Agur not Solomon, speaks of his relationship with God. He recognizes how inadequate he is before God. On his own he could not come to the knowledge of God. He sees the value of God’s word and knows that to add to it or take away from it is defiance before God. I love how Agur asks for two things from God, and I believe these are good things for all of us to ask of God. First of all, take all falsehood away from me. May I speak the truth in my heart in the mirror before my God, and may I speak the truth to others around me. Secondly, don’t make me too rich or too poor. This Agur was a pretty wise man.

Groups of 4 things. The Proverb writer starts with three things and for emphasis adds that it is four things.

  1. There are those (vs. 11-14) who are proud, cursing and dangerous.
  2. Never satisfied (vs. 15-16). Just like the leech who has offspring who are gluttonously ravenous, there are some things in life that will never say “Enough!” The grave will never be satisfied, the ground will always drink up more water, and one who is unable to conceive is crying out to God for a baby.
  3. Things too wonderful to understand (vs. 18-19). Young, pure love is a wonderful thing to God. Just like watching a ship on the seas, an eagle flying or a serpent moving gracefully along the rocks.
  4. Things the earth cannot bear up (vs. 21-23). Some things make the earth tremble. When these things happen, it is just going to cause more trouble. You think a woman getting married is a good thing, but if she is a hard to love woman, that marriage will be trouble. We might think a slave becoming king is a great Cinderella story, but if the slave comes to the throne bitter and thirsty for vengeance, it will ruin the kingdom.
  5. Small but wise (vs. 24-28). Ants are small and can be squished with a finger, but look at what they do every year. They work hard and provide their food for the winter. Locusts are also small creatures, they have no king, they they are smart enough to “march in ranks.” Rock badgers have enough sense to find a safe place to live in the cliffs.
  6. Stately (vs. 29-31). Whether it is a king with his troops behind him, or a rooster or a lion, they all have a kind of swagger to them. Notice, though, what is said in the next verse. Vs. 32 warns us against having that kind of swagger in exalting ourselves.