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AGUR! PAINTER OF PICTURES (#15)

PROVERBS 30 IS SOMETIMES KNOWN AS THE BOOK OF AGUR.

HIS PROVERBS, FILLED WITH POETIC PICTURES,

PENETRATE THE HEART,

FOR IT IS TRUE, THAT A PICTURE

CAN BE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS,

TAPPING INTO THE RIGHT BRAIN AND FALLING TO THE HEART.

a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-word

YOU MAY REMEMBER WHEN WE STUDIED

THE SANCTITY OF SEX, LOOKING AT AGUR’S PICTURES:

Three things are too wonderful for me;

four I do not understand:

the way of an eagle in the sky;

Bankoboev.Ru_orel_v_na_fone_groznogo_neba

the way of a serpent on a rock,

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the way of a ship on the high seas,

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and the way of a man with a virgin.

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The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel: William Dyce

Do you see the hidden pearl in Agur’s pictures? In each case, two different but complimentary creations become one, moving in a beauty that would not be possible without the other. The fourth example is so profound Agur cannot comprehend it: the way of a man with a virgin. It is a mystery, but the marriage bed is honorable, and magical when it flows within the boundaries God ordained. The sexual relationship within marriage is like a pure flowing river, restoring, renewing, and reviving.

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But a river that exceeds its banks brings death, destruction, and despair.

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Therefore Agur closes this section on sex

with a picture of the ugliness of sex outside of marriage,

of one who regards sex as no more important than lunch.

This is the way of an adulteress;

she eats and wipes her mouth

and says, “I have done no wrong.”

(Proverbs 30:20)

16781Our world of fifty shades of gray treats sex as lightly as this, and it is difficult not to be impacted, to not be squeezed into the world’s mold. Agur’s word pictures can penetrate our hearts if we let them.

This week we will study Proverbs 29 (a good review)

and other splendid pictures of Agur.

Agur’s prayer in Proverbs 30 is intriguing, and again,

a picture of the kind of heart, of soil, that produced a hundredfold.

waving-wheat-chris-allington

Sunday: Icebreaker

1. When you contemplate Agur’s word picture on the beauty of sex as God ordained and the ugliness of sex outside those boundaries, how does it personally penetrate how you, as a woman of God, approach sex?

2. Also, in preparation for this lesson,I’d like you to watch this  video by David Powlison and comment on it — either today or tomorrow. 

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study 

David Powlison had such words of wisdom in his above clip on sanctification, but perhaps the most powerful for me was how when you see someone who is truly godly, and indeed, I think of several of you, you see Someone else in them, Someone changing them. But how do we cooperate with the Spirit of God, with the Potter? As Powlison says, sanctification is complex. We spend time in the Word, we ask God for a teachable heart, we identify our idols, we endeavor to let Jesus replace them, we repent quickly and sincerely… It is all part of the process of sanctification. It will not be complete until we see Jesus face to face, and then, when we see Him in all His glory, all the idols and all the sin in our lives will simply fall away. In the meantime, we must be ever aware that we are not doing this, but it is Christ in us. We are not “turning over a new leaf,” we are submitting to the Potter, we are beholding His glory, and as we do, mysteriously, we are transformed.

as-in-a-mirror

3. For our part, nothing is as important as the receptivity of our hearts. What severe warning is in Proverbs 29:1?

4. Read Proverbs 29:2-8 and share anything that quickens you.

5. Read Proverbs 29:9-11 and share what you learn about the fool.

6. Read Proverbs 29:12-17 and share what you learn about disciplining children.

7. Read Proverbs 29:18-27 and share anything that quickens you and why.

8. Read the opening verses of Proverbs 30:1-4 and share:

A. What heart characteristic do you see in Agur in verses 1-3?

B. Agur is humbled when he looks at creation and sees the great wisdom of God. This is often characteristic of godly people — they are continually alert to creation to be amazed, for it is a way of beholding the glory of God, and realizing how great He is and how small we are. Find the word pictures (verse 4) that Agur uses to describe what God has done.

My daughter Sally has a new puppy with brown markings that make the puppy look, in the dark, like she is awake when she is actually sleeping. Many believe these common markings on various animals are protection from other animals, deceiving them about the wakefulness of what might otherwise be an object of prey. It’s this kind of thing that puts me (and Agur!) in wonder of God.

protective markings
protective markings

9. What warning does Agur give in Proverbs 30:5-6?

10. Agur’s prayer. Read Proverbs 30:8-9.

A. What two things does Agur ask for?

B. Why do you think he doesn’t just ask for God to help him to handle riches wisely?

C. What do you learn about Agur’s character from this prayer?

11. Proverbs 30:11 to 17 are bracketed by similar warnings. What are they?

(I made my teenage sons memorize Proverbs 30:17!)

12. Read all of Proverbs 30 carefully and find two proverbs that quicken you and explain why. 

Thursday-Friday: Sermon on Agur’s Prayer

Agur’s Prayer – Joel Beeke

Dr. Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

13. Listen and share your notes and comments. 

Saturday

14. What is your take-a-way and why?

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156 comments

  1. 8. Read the opening verses of Proverbs 30:1-4 and share:
     
    A. What heart characteristic do you see in Agur in verses 1-3?
     
    I see honesty and humility. I was surprised actually by these verses, as Agur says, “I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man’s understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”
     
    B. Agur is humbled when he looks at creation and sees the great wisdom of God. This is often characteristic of godly people – they are continually alert to creation to be amazed, for it is a way of beholding the glory of God, and realizing how great He is and how small we are. Find the word pictures (verse 4) that Agur uses to describe what God has done.
     
    Agur uses the word picture of God gathering up the wind in the hollow of His hands. That is amazing, because though I can hear the wind, or see how it makes things move, wind itself is invisible and I can’t “catch” it in my hands. And it can be so powerful that it can destroy things. Yet God is more powerful than even the most destructive winds and He can control it.
    Agur uses the word picture of God wrapping up the waters in His cloak. Again, the picture that God can contain and control what we would find impossible to to control – wind and water.
     
    That puppy sure is cute with those two brown dots above his eyes! A few days ago, I noticed a very big spiderweb close to the ceiling of my front porch. Our house faces west, and it was late afternoon and the sun really caught the web. I was amazed at the perfect geometric design of the web. I don’t think I could sit down with paper and pencil and draw anything that perfect.

    1. susan, 
      I too enjoy finding things in nature that are beautiful. The other day the sunset was absolutely gorgeous! Pink and purple, streaking across the sky.

  2. 9. What warning does Agur give in Proverbs 30:5-6?
     
    After he says that all of God’s words are flawless, he warns us not to add to His words, because if we do, God will rebuke us and prove us to be liars. I’m thinking that this not only may refer to people who say they received some sort of private revelation from God (after the Bible was complete) but also to taking any part of the Bible out of context and adding our own explanations (or spin) to it, saying this is what it means and teaching others (in error).
     
    10. Agur’s prayer. Read Proverbs 30:8-9.
     
    A. What two things does Agur ask for?
     
    Agur asks that God keep falsehood and lies far from him, and secondly, that he be given neither poverty nor riches.
     
    B. Why do you think he doesn’t just ask God to help him to handle riches wisely?
     
    It seems that Agur understands the danger that comes with riches, as he goes on to say, “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You,and say, ‘Who is the Lord?'”
    I think this is a sneaky question, too, because when I read it, and ponder, okay – why can’t God just help Agur handle riches wisely, I see that behind that question, in the shadows, is wanting something else more than you really want God; in this case, riches. I know it was in a Tim Keller sermon that he talked about how we often use God as a means to an end, instead of God being the end. Asking God to “help” us with ____ sounds good but may reveal that our hearts are not really set on God.
     
    C. What do you learn about Agur’s character from this prayer?
     
    Going back to the opening verses of Proverbs 30, I think Agur is wiser than he gives himself credit for. He really has a heart for the Lord, wanting to keep God on the throne of his heart and not put riches there, nor hope for poverty and perhaps be tempted to steal, thereby dishonoring God. I also see that Agur trusts the Lord to deal with him according to what He knows is best. Trust, obedience, a desire to not sin against the Lord, to live a life pleasing to the Lord, to not bring dishonor to the Lord with the way that he lives out his life before others.

  3. 3. For our part, nothing is as important as the receptivity of our hearts. What severe warning is in Proverbs 29:1?
    That if we remain unreceptive, and I believe God is longsuffering but knows when it is time to stop throwing seeds on concrete, our idols will eventually destroy us. 
    4. Read Proverbs 29:2-8 and share anything that quickens you.
    V. 6 Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. This quickened me for it is a contrast between one who worships idols as their ultimate love and therefore they sin over and over and are blind to it and easily fall into it’s traps-which can be deadly.  Those who worship God as their ultimate love-who when convicted of sin, even if they refuse to see it at first eventually desire to let Him do heart surgery. They walk in repentance and faith for every day the righteous stumble! The righteous, therefore rejoice and are glad in Him. I think the bottom line is who is our number one Love-this is the core, in my opinion, in how we are set free from the chains of idolatry and in falling into the deadly snares of our sin.  
    5. Read Proverbs 29:9-11 and share what you learn about the fool.
    They are hard hearted-they are always right and refuse to work things out to bring peace in disputes.
    They hate those who are God’s-who are upright, and seek to bring them down.
    They can’t control their anger and could care less who is around them and what they say when they vent-they can shake up an atmosphere and make it horrible for everyone in the room.

    6. Read Proverbs 29:12-17 and share what you learn about disciplining children.

    -To be tender toward God and walking in repentance and faith daily so that we aren’t being bound by the lies satan tells us every day-this overflows in how we parent. I am learning first and foremost we show by example to our kids what it looks like to love God over everything else and what it looks like to repent and trust when we don’t. 
     
    -Praying for God to open my son’s eyes to their idolatry and sin for only He can do that. i can plant seeds though.
     
    – Walking in fairness toward my children when I assess issues with them. 
     
    – I firmly believe in spanking for certain reasons at a young age but doing so in love not in anger really helps them to have respect for us, for authority and for God. I have found by the time they are around 5 or 6 the spankings for defiance should be waning or not needed by then..Not true in all cases I am sure but for the most part they shouldn’t need it as much.
     
    – Be aware of sin patterns in our children so that we can help them and address it with them.
     
    -and verse 17 is so true. My boys definitely aren’t perfect..and there are issues every day with selfishness, coming up with excuses as to why they can’t do their chores, etc.. but when they are at school, church, etc.. they respect authority. I don’t think I have ever had one time where I was called by the school telling me they are a problem. Believe me, that is sweet as we endure the training ground here at home!! The teenage years have been a huge learning curve for me as a parent! There have been MANY times I wondered if anything we are teaching them has stuck, and sometimes it does feel like we are throwing seeds on concrete with some of them, and then God shows me tenderness and then I rejoice and rest in Him again. Parenting is such a great way to drive us to Him! 🙂
     
     
     

    1. Rebecca, so many of your answers are perfect gems this week and I do wish I had time to participate more, but thanks so much for sharing here. Anyway, this thought is Key:

       the bottom line is who is our number one Love-this is the core

      It reminded me of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman “Be My Magnificent Obsession” which Beth Moore quoted in a video on “The Patriarchs”. Even though it is an older song of SCC, I love it. God needs to be our magnificent obsession instead of the idols that we so easily cling to. Here is a link to an early version of the song. He has reworked it in a more reflective version in a later CD called “RE: Creation”.
      https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB0QtwIwAGoVChMIwfTuqPOPyAIVwqceCh0NlwFL&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DFXVCqd3HDDM&usg=AFQjCNF0DvBlnM04NeuzXuxaIXlJ4Duacw&sig2=w4MIyBnmgxGUVcCTGKLDAQ

      1. Diane, I listened to the song-GREAT song and so appropriate for this week. 

  4. OH and I have to add-my oldest is 16…and there are NO guarantees any of my boys will desire God when they grow up-no guarantees based on what I do or don’t do..for only God knows the true condition of their hearts right now and in the future..I don’t. I don’t want to come across like all of my boys are perfect for we have tons of issues at home we have to deal with-one overeats (idolatry), one under eats (Idolatry), one can be deceptive (approval idol), and one fits that proverb where he deceives his neighbor and then says he was just kidding.. so we have our hands full daily, but I am learning to trust God with them and do my best to love them by helping them see these things and then helping them to go to Him. My parenting has been FAR FROM PERFECT for I find i stumble mostly…for they are just as messed up as I am. 🙂

  5. I don’t know if anyone else had difficulty accessing the audio by Joel R. Beeke as I did.   I kept getting a page that told me that something had gone wrong and  I was not authorized to use that page    I believe I have found the audio Dee wanted us to hear.   It is about 30 minutes long.   I have listened but don’t have my notes ready yet.   I believe if you copy and paste the link below into your browser it should take  you right to the sermon.   
    http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=3409744130

    Actually I see it turned into a link you can just click on.

  6. My notes on sermon by Joel R. Beeke on Agur’s Prayer
     
    After reading scripture from Proverbs 30: 1-9, he stated that we come together tonight to pray and to hear a message about how to pray.   We need the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray.  The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray through application of the Holy Bible.   There is much to learn about how the saints of the Bible pray.  
     
    Tonight we look at the prayer of Agur, who prays for spiritual prosperity and for suitable provision.   
     
    Agur was the Son of Jakeh.  He is mentioned nowhere else in scripture and is referred to as a gatherer or collector.   He was a contemporary God-fearing collector with Solomon, and Solomon appended Agur’s collection to his Proverbs. 
     
    We have a window in these verses into who Agur really is.   Five things about Agur’s character: 
    1.  He is humble.   In verses 2 and 3 he is confessing his own failings.   He has low thoughts of himself.   Genuine humility is a mark of genuine grace. 
    2.  He lists questions about who God is. 
    3.  In verse 5b he says God is a shield.  Agur knew the Word to be the only pure wisdom. 
    4.  He was a dying saint.   He says, “Before I die…”   He is aware he is on his way to death.  He knew that any moment can be the end.
    5.  He was a praying saint. 
     
    Can you see any of these qualities in yourself?   Has God made you humble, made you worshipful, acquainted you experientially with His Word, kept you aware you are dying, and has he taught you how to pray?   These are the five marks of grace. 
     
    We might be disappointed upon first reading Agur’s prayer.   He has only two things to ask of God.    Why limit  it to two?   We could probably list 50 or more things.    Agur’s pray may represent in capsule form a model prayer.    
     
    First – spiritual needs
    Second – physical needs
     
    When it comes to spiritual needs, he prays “Remove from me vanity and lies.”   Vanity is emptiness – it is unreal, artificial, false, without reality.   Luther translated this portion “remove idolatry.”    Agur said “I don’t want to succumb to the empty desires of life, so remove all that stands in the way of spiritual communication with Thee, O God.”   
     
    If we tell lies, we are unre-lie-able (unreliable).   Help me not to pretend I am someone I am not.  Help me not to deceive myself for all eternity.   I want to have a “real life” with Thee.   Help me not to live vainly anywhere.   Our heart is set so much on physical things.    Help me not to have any distorted views about You.   He is asking for a right attitude flowing from his heart.   He knows he has a heart that is prone to go to the shallow, the physical, instead of the spiritual. 
     
    Can you say Spiritual priority is #1 in my life?   Do you fear for you own soul?   Do you pray daily for the integrity of your soul?   Do you look for truth in the inward parts?   Do you have a personal relationship with God?    Do you cultivate the Biblical perspective toward life? 
     
    Ultimately this is what gives purpose in life.   Out of our relationship with God, we have a relationship with one another, and relationship to our work and to our possessions.  
     
    Agur also prayed for suitable provision for life.    He asked God not to take away the necessities of life.   If that were to happen, he might be tempted or he might become bitter.    Please God, don’t give me poverty! 
     
    The second part of this is “and give me not riches.”   Agur knows his weakness and doesn’t trust himself.    If that were to happen, perhaps I might be removed from any close relation to God.   With wealth, there are many good causes you can help, but Agur is afraid because he knows his own heart.    Deuteronomy 6 warns “…when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”     Jesus said it is is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.     
     
    All kinds of people in the Bible have fallen for riches: 
    For money – Delilah betrayed Samson
    For money – the servant of Elisha lied to Naaman and became a leper
    For money – Ananias and Saphira became the first hypocrites of the early church and lost their lives. 
    For money – Judas betrayed his master. 
     
    J.C. Ryle says “Money is one of the most unsatisfying of all possessions.   There is trouble in getting it.  There is anxiety in keeping it.   There is temptation in using it.  There is guilt in abusing it, and there is sorrow in losing it.   
     
    Agur says he doesn’t think he can handle it under his own strength and maintain that close life with his God.  

    1. Thank you for sharing these great notes Deanna!

    2. Deanna, thank you for your notes. Very detailed!

  7. 9. What warning does Agur give in Proverbs 30:5-6?
    I love verse 5, especially the first part: “Every word of God proves true”, oh such comfort in knowing He is always truthful.  The warning: “vDo not add to his words”
    10. Agur’s prayer. Read Proverbs 30:8-9A. What two things does Agur ask for?
    I’ve always loved v. 8b too, but never gave Agur credit! He asked for God to keep him from lying and dishonesty, spare him from poverty or riches—give him only what he needs. I really connect with these verses—both on truth and the idea of balance in finances—not too much or too little.
     
    B. Why do you think he doesn’t just ask for God to help him to handle riches wisely?
    I think he did ask for wisdom in handling riches wisely when he asks that he be kept truthful, honest, a man of integrity. But beyond that, he doesn’t desire for money (in excess or lack) to distract him from God.
    C. What do you learn about Agur’s character from this prayer?
    There is a desire for honesty, integrity, and contentment that is greater than a desire for riches. I know of godly people who even when they have been blessed financially, they continue to live well below their means and give more and more away. I have witnessed the angst of trying to have more, keep up with society—and I think I grew up with a sense that having too much or too little can cause such distraction, unrest. I am blessed to have never experienced “too little”, but I am also thankful that both my husband and I are very simple, and we love to give generously. Sometimes my fear of too much, is used for good, in that sense!
     
    11. Proverbs 30:11 to 17 are bracketed by similar warnings. What are they? 
    Honor your parents, show respect for their teaching, bless them. 
     
    12. Read all of Proverbs 30 carefully and find two proverbs that quicken you and explain why. 
    I really love verse 8-9. But another one that struck me is v. 15: “The leech has two daughters: Give and Give.” I remember camping as a kid, going down the rapids (a TX thing),  and we were always terrified of leeches. The thought was that they’d jump on to you and suck your blood and be stuck to you—ugh, making me squirm to type this! So when I read this verse, I picture the 2 suckers on a leech, demanding that you give them your very life. 

    And then he says “Three things are never satisfied;four never say, “Enough”: Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.””
    So reading “the barren womb” always strikes a chord, maybe a nerve, with me. But the image that came to mind when I read this, was the moment in the doctor’s office, a “reproductive endocrinologist”, who had told me she could “make (me) a baby”. And I did say, I heard the Lord say, “enough”. I’m so thankful for that moment. So thankful I heard Him. So, SO thankful for the two gifts He brought to fill, to overflow me, with MORE than “enough”. 
     

  8. 8. A- humility B- Going up and coming down from heaven-gathering the wind with His hands-wrapping up the waters in His cloak-establishing the ends of the earth.
    9. Don’t add to the words of God.
    10. A- Keep falsehood and lies from him and give him only his daily bread. B. I think so he could continually recognize his need for God. C. His main concern was his relationship with God.
    11. I see warnings about haughtiness and constanct craving and mocking our father or scorning the obedience of our mother as well as cursing our father and not blessing our mother. 
    12. I was struck by verse 25 “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.”  It just reminded me of the importance of prepartation for winter seasons- not to be caught off guard that in life we will go through winter seasons. 
    Also, verse 15 which spoke of the leech’s two daughters crying “Give! Give!”.  I think it stood out to me because I often find myself thinking about this feeling I get inside sometimes that feels like I need more…Not big things but I will find myself wanting a new journal when I already have one that is perfectly fine, or a new book when I already have plenty of books still to read, or a new album on Itunes… I think it is a comfort idol for sure! I am seeking some sense of satisfaction from these material things but they don’t satisfy. I don’t want to be like these twin daughters crying for someone to give me more and more. 

  9. 10. Agur’s prayer. Read Proverbs 30:8-9. 

    A. What two things does Agur ask for? 

    Agur asks for God to remove falsehood and lying from him. He asks to not be poor or rich. He asks for God to feed him with what he needs.

  10. B. Why do you think he doesn’t just ask for God to help him to handle riches wisely? 
     
    I don’t think Agur wants to be distracted by being overly wealthy. He wants to keep God in his radar at all times and not be focused on earthly pleasures.
     
    C. What do you learn about Agur’s character from this prayer?
     
    He seems to be a humble man, one who knows he can get off course and needs to be steered in the right direction.

  11. 11. Proverbs 30:11 to 17 are bracketed by similar warnings. What are they?
     
    These verses are about how you treat your parents. we are reminded to honor them or there will be consequences.
     
     
     

  12. I have spent some time reading older blog posts from 2011 last night and today, I just have to share how full my heart feels. How much this blog, Dee and you my sisters have blessed me. I can see how much more solid the Gospel is in me and how much I have grown. The Word has been hidden in my heart and this blog has been the vehicle for it. I am so very grateful, and hopeful for what will be!

    1. Chris – that is SO encouraging!   🙂    You just pinpointed something about this blog that I hadn’t been able to clearly see…..I’m a “journal person” and it can be helpful to look back over past years and rejoice in what GOD has done.  Even though for over 27 years  some of my heart’s desires prayers remain in the “no or not yet” category it is stunning to see the hand of the Lord in my life SO faithfully over all of these years.  But this sisterhood actually functions in many ways as though journaling in community.  The blessings seem exponential as we interact as His Body and spur one another on…..and see GROWTH in one another!!  And imagining that growth in the gospel manifesting itself all throughout our own families, friendships, workplaces and geographical locations…..oh MY!!!  

      1. Jackie-one of your spiritual gifts is teaching-correct? I don’t want to assume that, but just guess that from your posts..you SO care about how things are said-if they line up with scripture or not..for you tend to heed Agur’s warning in v. 5 and 6, and you have discernment. 

    2. i agree, Chris!

    3. Chris-wow..I too see how you have grown of course I saw back then how you loved God so..I agree, I too see how you cling so the Gospel. You seem so much freer now in Him-it is beautiful to see. 

  13. Comments to Dr. Beeke’s message:
    So behind here but had a chance to listen to Dr. Beeke while fixing supper. So good but did not get to write notes down. He emphasized the gospel so much-I have what I have because of what Jesus has done on the cross. “Live soberly, moderately and joyfully.” The Paulinian call to contentment is worthy of remembering. Always. ” I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

    1. Bing-loved to see how God moved in you through this message. I am going to listen today as I clean. 🙂 

  14. 11. Proverbs 30:11 to 17 are bracketed by similar warnings. What are they?
     
    V. 11 and 17 both talk about children who are not honoring their parents; instead, they “curse their fathers, do not bless their mothers” – they mock and disobey. V. 17 contains the warning that they will suffer consequences for it.
     
    12. Read all of Proverbs 30 carefully and find two Proverbs that quicken you and explain why.
     
    Verse 21 says, “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up…” – two of those things are an unloved woman who is married, and a maid servant who displaces her mistress. For the first, I thought of Leah, and all the tumult of her early marriage to Jacob and the rivalry between her and her sister; for the second, I thought of Sarah and Hagar, how when Hagar became pregnant she despised Sarah and it caused all kinds of grief.
     
     

  15. 13. Listen and share your notes and comments.
     
    I followed along with Deanna’s excellent notes as I listened! Thank you Deanna! While he says that Agur only prays for two things, there is a lot of wealth packed into his two prayer requests and I was convicted by a lot of things in the spiritual part of Agur’s prayer. The part about praying for God to remove vanity, or falsehood, or as Luther translated, idolatry from my life. But to desire instead a “real” life with God. Oh how my heart can be set on physical things-people, possessions, and APPROVAL.

  16. 9. What warning does Agur give in Proverbs 30:5-6?
    That God’s Word is sufficient-every word is flawless-pure, perfect, and to hide in Him in His word for He is a shield. The warning is not to add to it. or twist it to suit our idolatrous desires. There are many ways to do this via listening to false teachers and there are many out there some even in the mainstream. We should always check with Scripture what our teacher is saying.
    10. Agur’s prayer. Read Proverbs 30:8-9.
    A. What two things does Agur ask for?
    That God would not give him too much for he may forget God, or too little for he may beg bread (and again forget God)..I find it interesting whether we are rich or poor, or greedy or frugal, we can obsess about money-having more or not spending, and either way they can become our epi desire over God. Ouch.
    B. Why do you think he doesn’t just ask for God to help him to handle riches wisely?
    God means more to him than having money or not having money for his main point is that he either fears disowning God or not honoring His name.  
    C. What do you learn about Agur’s character from this prayer?
    He is humble! He knows his frailty-his propensity and bend toward worshiping other things more than God. He admits this to God in his request. Instead of asking for God to handle money wisely, or for riches, or for poverty, his request is for God to keep back the lies that lead him to worship these things over God. Wow!
    11. Proverbs 30:11 to 17 are bracketed by similar warnings. What are they?
    dishonoring our parents, thinking we have it all together when we don’t, judgmental toward others who are broken like us, forgetting the poor, death will come to all of us, mocking our father and scorning our mom, and there are desires we will long to have quenched on this earth that never will be.
     
     
     

  17. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACKIE! I am so thankful the Lord brought you here and chose to bless this “cyber family” with your rich wisdom, your other-centered love, your Christ-like heart. I learn SO much from you Jackie–not only in what you share, but in how you listen, you read carefully, you search and study His Word, and how you build up the body. Love and prayers for you my sister~

    1. Happy Birthday to my wise, discerning, ‘teacher’ friend-Jackie! 🙂 Hope your day is beautiful!!  

  18. Yes, Jackie! Happy birthday. I echo Lizzy’s words. Thank you for the way “you build up the body” here in our blog. You bless our hearts, indeed.

  19. 12. Read all of Proverbs 30 carefully and find two proverbs that quicken you and explain why.
    the way of a man with a young woman. sex..the metaphor God designed for us to see what communing with him looks like..like what Lizzy said-A dance of freedom based on trust-why he made us-to be one with Him, to be naked, vulnerable, exposing our dark hearts and we can freely be vulnerable because He loves us to the moon. I am SUCH a baby in this-admitting my selfish heart daily.
     
    Just the other day I walked out of the parent teacher conferences to my car praying..and I love praying outside..for some reason looking at creation instantly puts me in awe and takes my mind off me and my idols and onto Him…and I really would like to memorize some of the Psalms so that I can get lost in adoration more, but anyway, I got in bed with my approval idol when I was talking with the teachers..i embraced that worthless stick instead of Him..so as I was walking outside all it took was to see the sky and I melted..desiring teacher’s approval vs. already having His-the one who created the beautiful sky??? Good grief!! I can be soooo like sheep..He loves me to the moon and back-even in my imperfection and my frailty..so I told him the truth about my heart-how I was self centered and in that moment my epi-desire was for their approval as a parent and for their approval of my son and I asked Him to help me. This sounds simple-but why is it so hard for me to just admit to Him I think of me more than Him, more than others on a daily basis? Yet I believe He is breaking through and I am rejoicing!! I feel so free just being honest before Him yet confident of His Love for me at the same time..It is like what Lizzy said-this is the beautiful dance He designed us for-like the metaphor of sex. Maybe putting what Agur and Powlison said together…the mystery I can’t comprehend is complex, yet simple. 😉
     

  20. Happy Birthday Jackie!

  21. Listening to sermon..wow..so encouraging..is spiritual prosperity my #1 priority..to be close to God, enjoy fellowshipwith Him. .if anything gets in the way,  take it away..take from me vanities and lies. .do i look for truth in the inward parts? Do i desire to desire Him more? 
    This is what i pray for i dont trust my dark heart-it can come between God and I!! 

  22. To all my sweet sisters here, I just want you to know that I have been doing the study and reading your comments even though I have not been posting much. I have been praying for your requests, too. You ladies are my (earthly) life line!!

    1. Dawn-good to “see” you here, praying for you now too, you are loved!

    2. Dawn-I can relate with you in regard to not having time to post..it is so good you have posted to let us know! I agree with Lizzy-you are loved here!