Talks for Growing Christians
Wisdom in Observing
Lesson Number 53
- The sayings of Agur contain truth for every believer.
- Start now!
- The literary style of presenting the four situations in verses 21-23, “three things . . . yes, for four” indicates that an ________________ list is not intended. Explain the meaning of each situation regarding the servant, the fool, the hateful woman and the maidservant.
- What are four lessons of wisdom we can glean from Agur’s use of the ants, the badgers, the locusts and the spiders (or lizards) in his wise sayings in verses 24-28?
- In the wise saying in verse 33, Agur uses two word pictures which illustrate the last line of the verse. This is known as _________________ parallelism.
- The literary style employed in the proverb of verses 21-23 indicates that an exhaustive list is not intended. However, Agur teaches us about four situations that can cause great turmoil in personal or social life. We should be alert to the potential of a servant who gains the authority of a king becoming a tyrant. Similarly, when a fool becomes prosperous, we should understand that his foolish acts could cause disruption and chaos on a much larger scale. A hateful or mean-spirited woman will certainly cause dysfunction in both the immediate and extended family, and a maidservant who in some way usurps the place and position of her mistress is likely to cause turmoil as well.
- Four lessons we can glean from Agur’s sayings in verses 24-28 are: a. We should not be lazy. We should be industrious like an ant, working hard and properly planning for the future (v25). b. We should know our limitations and find our security in a sure and solid shelter (as finding our salvation in Christ the solid Rock) (v 26). c. We should move forward in cooperation and concert with others, as in the body of Christ, under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit (v 27). d. We should not be surprised that God may grant us access to, and influence in “high places.”
- In verse 33, the word pictures illustrating the last line of the verse, is a form of Hebrew poetry known as emblematic parallelism.
- Discuss the areas of planning and preparation for the future that are wise for believers and the families of believers. In this discussion, consider the fallacy or foolishness of pretending to know the future, rather than depending on the Lord to give wisdom and insight in the process of planning. Also consider the biblical call to righteous living, generosity and the important lesson of laying up “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6: 20, 21).
- In retrospect, are you aware of and ashamed by the ways you exalt yourself in conversation, behavior or appearance? Or has self-exaltation become so habitual that it requires a friend to point it out to you? Pray for the humility and compassion to continually think of others before yourself, and to habitually put the interests of others before your own. See 1 Corinthians 10:24 and Philippians 2:3 and 4 in this connection.
- “There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no kings, yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces.” Proverbs 30:24-28