Friday, April 12, 2013

Proverbs 30: Hearing God's voice in the Mundane

Prov 30:1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh — an oracle.
Prov 30:5-6 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. 
Prov 30:15-16 "There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, 'Enough!':  the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, 'Enough!'
Prov 30:18-20 "There are three things that are too amazing for me,four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky,the way of a snake on a rock,the way of a ship on the high seas,and the way of a man with a maiden.  
Prov 30:21-23 "Under three things the earth trembles,under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king,a fool who is full of food, an unloved woman who is married,and a maidservant who displaces her mistress. 
Prov 30:24-28 "Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength,yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power,yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king,yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces. 
Prov 30:29-31 "There are three things that are stately in their stride,four that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts,who retreats before nothing; a strutting rooster, a he-goat,and a king with his army around him. 

In Proverbs 30, we have the sayings of "Agur, son of Jakeh--an oracle". His identity is unknown, but he considers what he has written as a "an oracle", translated as "utterance" in NKJV,  "prophecy" in KJV, and "message" in NLT. In short, Agur considers what he has written as prophetic rather than merely poetic. His sayings are not just inspiring, but inspired by the Holy Spirit, and qualifies as "prophecy", i.e. the Word of God. However, he has used the poetic style to express revelation imparted to him by the Spirit. But to him, the final product is flawless: "Every word of God is flawless" (v.5).

Like the preacher of God's word of today, Agur has been given the freedom to express God's revelation in any form he is comfortable with--be it a fictional story (parables), a poem (Job), a song (psalms) or simply historical accounts (1 Samuel - 2 Chronicles). The Word of God is like treasure in an earthen vessel--we must seek the illumination of the Holy Spirit to get beyond the writer's container into the original content that has been inspired by the same Holy Spirit. 

Surprisingly, Agur receives God's revelation from observing the daily occurrences of life and in nature, things that are  very familiar to all of us. In other word, the Holy Spirit reveals to Agur God's word in these observations. What makes his sayings the "word of God" rather than just "wise sayings" is the Holy Spirit who inspires him to record these observations: 
  • Insatiables of Life: Observations: the grave, the barren womb, the land receiving water, the engulfing flames of the fire can never be satisfied. God's word: There are some things in life that will never be satisfied and have enough, no matter how much they have received.  
  • Marvels of Nature: Observations: the flight of the eagle, the glide of the serpent, the cruise of the ship on the high seas, the intimacy of a man and his lover. God's word: When we observe the processes in nature, we cannot but marvel at God's wisdom.
  • Disorders of Life: Observations: a servant becomes a king,  a fool who over-eats, a married woman unloved by her husband, a house-maid over-rules her mistress. God's word: Rejecting God's orders will create misery for all.
  • Strength in Little Things: Observations: ants store up food for summer; coneys make their homes in rock; locusts fly in formations; lizards found in king's palaces. God's word: Don't despite small things--to be little is not to be weak.
  • Images of Greatness: Observations: the mighty lions, the strutting rooster, the charging he-goat, and the king with his army. Lesson: Greatness and majesty are built into the created order because the Creator is a great and majestic God.
So, we can hear God speaking to us through inspired observations of mundane things in life. To those who walk by the Spirit, God speaks relentlessly in every situation.

Father, open our ears to what Your Spirit is saying to us in our daily interactions. Help us not become blind to Your message to us today. Amen.

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