Proverbs 30:10-12 (ESV)
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.
It is unwise to meddle in the affairs of others. If you speak falsely about someone else’s family member, trying to elevate your reputation, you will suffer. Disrespectful children bring much grief to their families, and to not bless your mother, or to curse your father, are unreasonably cruel behaviors. There are some who believe they are pure before the Lord, without need of repentance and faith in Christ. They see the world through their own ethical lens. The things they practice are right, and the things they don’t practice are wrong. Even if they concede that God is holy and just, they excuse the sinful practices they embrace as negotiable to the Lord. They are convinced that if God exists, he will end up accepting them into his kingdom, because they are relatively good. Don’t be deceived. Make sure you come to God on his terms and not your own.
Proverbs 30:7-9 (ESV)
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.
The author, Agur, asked the Lord for protection and help regarding two specific things before he died: to be kept from deceit and to be graced with daily needs. The author is aware of the temptations that can result with having too little or too much. When one struggles to exist, she may be driven to steal. When one becomes too wealthy, she may cease from depending upon the Lord. The author considered what would bring most glory to God. He didn’t ask for wisdom to manage riches, but asked for moderation, that he may walk consistently as a follower of the Lord. If he sinned, he would bring shame to the reputation of God and his people, and if he were full, he may ignore the Lord. What are you asking God for in prayer? Do you request that God would give you whatever would bring most glory to his name? Or are you seeking your own glory today?
Proverbs 30:4-6 (ESV)
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.
Agur declares the vast difference between the lowly nature of humanity and the greatness of God. The Lord alone can ascend and descend into heaven, the Lord alone is in control of the weather, and the Lord alone possesses the ability to create from nothing. Genuine wisdom comes from God, who holds absolute power. Every word revealed to man through the Holy Scripture is pure and true, without fault or defect. Those who put their hope in him are preserved through death. In the past God communicated through his prophets, and then by his Son. His revelation to us is complete, and the canon of Scripture is closed. The one who adds to God’s words, no matter how sincere, is a liar. Many have declared that the Lord has new words for his people. Don’t listen to them. Stick with the message that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Proverbs 30:1-3 (ESV)
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.
The prophet Agur declares the inspired words of the Lord, as he confesses from experience that without God he could not attain wisdom. He became exhausted in his quest to discover the meaning of life apart from God’s revelation. Life is short, and without God, there is no absolute right or absolute wrong. The honest sage admits that he is unable to fabricate an actual purpose for our time here on earth. Without a creator, everything, even morality, is relative and subject to change. At the same time, Agur comes to the place of fundamental wisdom, realizing that true knowledge comes from the Lord. Human opinions will come and go. Values that are in fashion today may be out of fashion tomorrow. Where do you turn for wisdom and knowledge? Do you rely upon the opinions of others, or even yourself, or do you follow what God has revealed through the Bible? Seek the Scripture for guidance today.
Proverbs 29:25-27 (ESV)
25 The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
26 Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
People can hurt us, and at times we are afraid of other humans. But if we are fearful of people because we don’t want to lose their approval, compromising what we know to be true, we have failed. Even though men may hate us, our trust and hope must remain in God. He will vindicate his children in the end. Some are tempted to cower before others in hope of gaining favor as a result, but God alone brings true justice. God’s authority surpasses the power of any king, ruler, leader or judge. We are called to embrace all people, including those from different ethnicities and economic statues, but the righteous do not have to compromise with those who are evil. The wicked detest the aroma of the Lord in his followers, and the righteous are grieved by the thinking and practice of the ungodly. This animosity will continue until the end. Boldly stand against darkness today.
Proverbs 29:23-24 (ESV)
23 One’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24 The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
The woman who lives as if she was above those around her, will be brought down, while the one who is reasonable, considering the needs of others, will be rewarded. Those who regularly seek the Lord become increasingly aware of their failures and humbly rely on God for daily strength. The proud woman is self-sufficient, having no need for the Lord’s forgiveness. The one who participates with a thief has no internal peace. She is tormented by her sinful choices. The victims who have suffered at the hands of the criminals curse them and their actions, while the guilty remain silent. The woman who sins to enjoy more of life ends up losing passion for the life she sought to enhance. There’s nothing like going to bed at night with a clear conscience. If you have been silent about your sin, put an end to it today. God’s mercies are new every morning.
Proverbs 29:20-22 (ESV)
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 Whoever pampers his servant from childhood
will in the end find him his heir.
22 A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
Words have the power to harm others. The fool often wrongly responds in certain situations out of sheer stupidity, but the one who is hasty is more calculated than the fool. This is the woman who knows better, yet feels comfortable blurting out what’s on her mind. She realizes her speech is destructive, but she doesn’t care. If she’s thinking it, she believes she has the right to express it to others. When servants or employees are catered to, they lose respect for the authorities over them. It is detrimental when servants or sons feel entitled and harbor ungrateful attitudes. The person who allows her anger to build up within will eventually release it in outbursts, causing harm to others. This woman enjoys being at war with others and would rather fight than forfeit. No matter what your temperament, ethnicity, or upbringing may be, ask God to help you manage and control your inner anger today.
Proverbs 29:18-19 (ESV)
18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19 By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond.
When communities reject the Lord and his authority, moral law is cast aside, and everyone ends up doing what is right in their own eyes. But those who know and keep the word of the Lord are happy, living consistently with God’s design for human behavior. Whether a servant or a son, all who despise wisdom must suffer consequences as a result of their sinful actions. Mere words are often insufficient when it comes to correcting bad behavior. Penalties for transgressions tend to drive obedience more than simple conversation does. For most, traffic tickets moderate driving habits more effectively than the rules found in the handbook. Though we may resist embracing God’s decrees, the wise learn that his laws are not burdensome. Just as fish thrive in water, and birds soar in the air, those who keep God’s law are liberated to live successfully within the parameters for which humans have been designed.
Proverbs 29:15-17 (ESV)
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
he will give delight to your heart.
Parents are called to discipline their children, and parents who refuse to punish their disobedient kids will suffer for their negligence later. Though it can be exhausting, we must continue to chastise our children’s immoral behavior. Although the behavior of the wicked may succeed for a moment, it will not prosper in the long run. For now, the righteous must live by faith. Eventually the godly will watch those who embraced evil suffer the wrath they deserve for their selfish and sinful actions. Rest implies a state of peace, as opposed to conflict or chaos. The parents who faithfully discipline their children will experience the delight of enjoying happy and harmonious relationships with their kids. When children are consistently corrected, the parents and the kids profit. Even if you are weary today, care about your kids enough to penalize them when they sin. God disciplines us, and we must discipline our kids as well.
Proverbs 29:12-14 (ESV)
12 If a ruler listens to falsehood,
all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established forever.
The leader who listens to lies, making unjust decisions while oppressing the poor and unfortunate, will infect those underneath him with the same sinful mentality. In an attempt to impress the evil ruler, his subjects imitate his actions, and eventually the entire kingdom erodes. The poor along with his persecutor depend upon the Lord for the ability to see and experience the creation. Regardless of extreme difference in rank within the social structure, they both bear the image of God, and in that sense are more alike rather than different. The oppressor should respect the dignity of poor man, and the poor man should not despise the strength and riches of his oppressor. The leader who doesn’t bend his ear toward the wicked, but faithfully acknowledges the poor, will be blessed by the Lord. Who are you at odds with today? Ask God to grace you with the ability to see your enemy through the lens of compassion today.