Scripture Focus: Proverbs 30.1-5
1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
Surely you know!
5 “Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Reflection: Inspired Utterance
By John Tillman
We do not know who Agur, Jakeh, or Ithiel are. They are mentioned nowhere else in scripture.
Agur expresses that without God’s wisdom, humans are little better than brute animals. This could be a general description of our culture.
Our culture claims to set us free, allowing our individual hearts, feelings, experiences, and opinions to self-determine truth, right, and wrong, however, this doesn’t set anyone free. “Personal truth” makes every person a dictator who must either enslave the world to their “truth” or be enslaved by the conflicting “truths” of others.
“Follow your hearts” sounds supportive until someone follows their heart to commit adultery, rape, or create pornography. “Do what feels good” sounds fun until someone “feels good” making racist artwork, overdosing on drugs, or defrauding the poor. “Speak your truth” sounds freeing until one person’s truth causes deaths (or war) over a lie.
Agur, whoever he is, must have read Job. His writing reflects Job’s concepts. Agur knows we need a dose of humility. He issues a challenge to himself and to the reader — a challenge for those who think themselves wise. “Have you gone to heaven? Have you gathered the wind, held the waters, set the boundaries of the earth? If you didn’t, surely you know who did!”
If Agur read Job, Jesus seems to have read them both. Jesus echoed Agur when he said, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.” (John 3.11-13) Jesus also expected that those who “study the scriptures diligently” should find, not just wisdom, but testimony about himself. (John 5.39-40) All scripture testifies about Jesus and the wisdom we find there is from him. (Luke 24.27)
We may not know who Agur is, but we know the name of the Holy One he reveres and references — the source of true wisdom. The setter of the boundaries of the earth, the holder of the waters, the gatherer of the wind, and the one who comes down from heaven, is Jesus. He is the flawless Word of God and is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
In his refuge, we find wisdom, peace, mercy, and understanding that can change us from brutish beings enslaved to our urges into true humans — images of God upon the earth.
Lord, give us inspired utterances that reveal you to others as the source of wisdom.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Fear the Lord, you that are his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing — Psalm 34.9
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Proverbs 30 (Listen – 3:51)
Psalm 99-101 (Listen – 2:48)
Read more about Blessings of the Dispossessed
“Cause I can see a people dispossessed
Broken and brave in the face of so much fear
Driven from their homes by the greed of a nation
Whose treaties were as good as litter
Along the trail of their tears”
Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one.