Book of Proverbs: 31 verses from 31 chapters in 31 days – God’s pure word (30:5)

Day 30: God’s pure word (30:5)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Today’s chapter are “the words of Agur the son of Jakeh” about whom we know little other than what his words reveal about him, insofar he appeared to be very humble (content with the quiet life, away from the limelight, and having just enough to get by in life) and very wise (given his insights into many things that are humanity and nature related that most people miss). He begins recognising how little he or anyone else knows about God: “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy” (30:3). In today’s text, he makes a beautifully apt observation about God’s word that we do well to heed. It is pure (unlike so much else we come across in life) and then throws in a related thought of God being a shield, i.e. a protector to those who trust in Him. He follows this up with a logical continuation that we must not add to God’s word and thus adulterate it: “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (30:6). In making his observation concerning purity, he reinforces what we learn in the Psalms: “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” Psalm 19:8 and “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” Psalm 119:140. Just as Proverbs encourages wisdom over foolishness etc., it does purity over impurity.

Going back to his contentment, he prays for two things in life: “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (30:8,9). While it is unlikely for anyone to pray quite along these lines, we do well to take note. As for Agur’s words that follow, as one commentator remarked: “He begins with a frank observation of human wickedness (30.10-15a). Then his unique way of making vivid comparisons has seven main focuses: the pain of childlessness (30.15b-16), the disrespecting of parents (30.17), the mystery of romantic relationships (30.18-19), the shamelessness of adultery (30.20), the agony of an unloved wife (30.21-23), the various kinds of wisdom (30.24-28) – and the slightly comic nature of human power! (30.29-31)”. He ends as he begins, on a note of wise humility: “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (30:32,33).

Prayer: Lord, we thank you every word you give is pure and you are a shield to those who trust in you. We thank you for people like Agur, who show humble contentment, and are able to discern your wisdom. May we too do likewise.

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