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.
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;
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.
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.
But a river that exceeds its banks brings death, destruction, and despair.
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.”
Our 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
14. What is your take-a-way and why?