Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

~Proverbs 30:5

Lesson42-image001Materials Needed: Paper and pencils to be passed out at the beginning of the lesson.

Notes to the Leader: This is a discussion-oriented study. It deals with one’s acceptance of a higher, more knowledgeable power than humans — God.

The exercise in the beginning is one of “apologetics,” that is, the defense of one’s beliefs or faith structure. Depending on the size of the group, you may want to have everyone do their own or break the group into smaller teams.

Then forming teams, use a random technique to select members. In this way, you will be helping your group get to know each other better.

Introduction

If you had one minute to convince someone God was real, what would you say?

  • Let each person or group share their thoughts and ideas. This is just a warm up for the lesson.

Do you think that most agnostics believe there is no God or have closed their minds and are simply unwilling to acknowledge the existence of a God with whom they do not wish to deal?

  • It is a human trait to avoid that which is unpleasant or requires sacrifice. Much depends on where the agnostic is with respect to their own faith journey. Most probably are just avoiding what they believe will not bring them joy.
  • Some have hardened their hearts (see Romans 1:21 for more information).

Have someone in the group read 1 Corinthians 8:1-3.

What is the key difference between those who seek to know God and those who do not care to know Him?

  • We know that we are known by God.

Section One: Agur

Read Proverbs 30:1-3 to the group set up the study. This is all we know about Agur, what is written in these three verses. He is the of this proverb. As a background, we have the following biblical information:

The reign of King Hezekiah was marked by the reopening of diplomatic relations with neighboring nations. Hezekiah displayed his treasures to foreign emissaries. Hezekiah had a zeal for collecting writings that bore the stamp of godly wisdom. It is, therefore, possible that a neighboring nation, wishing to honor him with a gift he would appreciate, shared with him the writings of a God-fearing Gentile named Agur.

The Hebrew word massa, translated “oracle, may actually be the name of a tribe in Northern Arabia descended from Abraham’s son Ishmael (Gen. 25:13-14). If this is correct, Agur may have been a tribal wise man or chief of the Massaites. This would place him in the same part of the world that Job described as “the people of the East” (Job 1:1-3), who were noted for their wisdom (1 Kings 4:30-31).

It is also possible that Agur was a brother to Lemuel (31:1), northern Arabic royalty and relatives to Abraham.

What do you think the world will remember our generation and nation for 3,000 years from now?

Make a list from your group’s ideas. Encourage discussion.

  • Isn’t it interesting that history rarely remembers the technological contributions of ancient societies. It is their character and contribution to life’s wisdom that seems to be remembered and reflected upon.

What can you tell about the person, Agur?

  • He was a man of great wisdom because he had great humility.

Have someone read Proverbs 30:1-6. Hebrew scholars say the second part of verse one is difficult to translate. It can be either the names of two of Agur’s students or be translated “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and Faint.”

What are the three claims being made by Agur?

  • He admits his personal limitations in his struggle to know God.
  • He makes no claims of superior wisdom or knowledge. In his eyes, he knows less than a man ought to know.
  • In spite of his best efforts, his grasp of wisdom and knowledge of God is incomplete.

Can you relate Agur and his attitudes to yourself?

  • It is through the Scripture, verses like these, that we begin to gain comfort in our own struggles. To struggle, is part of the search for God’s wisdom.

What is so important about Agur’s struggle and his attitude?

  • Agur has acknowledged that Someone is in control of the universe.

Can you share some of the moments in your life that you came to believe that Someone was in charge of the universe?

  • For me it was a campout in Walton Hills, Ohio. I was about 15 years old. My buddies and I were sleeping out under the stars without city lights. Laying there staring up at the sky, I suddenly became overwhelmed with my insignificance. The universe was no “by chance happening.” Up to that time I had been taught there was a God. From that moment on, I knew there was a God. Please tell your story here.

Read the last part of verse 4 to the group.

What is the revelation that Agur is making here?

  • God is a person. The question, “What is his name?” is meant to ask, what is God’s character like?
  • Knowing now, that Christ is God, How does the New Testament alter one’s quest for wisdom?
  • The quest to know the truth climaxes when the focus turns to Jesus (read Matthew 11:28-30)

Where does Agur say the knowledge of God can be found?

  • In God’s Word.

While this may seem an obvious answer, why is this point so important?

  • In order to find the knowledge to understand God’s character, we must first believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

What is it that each of us must believe in order to know that the Bible is God’s Word?

  • God’s word is flawless. It is not acceptable to pick and choose the parts of Scripture that we like. It is all true. It is man’s knowledge that is flawed.
  • God’s word is a shield. The wisdom in God’s word protects.
  • God’s word is whole. We do not have to add the ideas of men to it.

Section Two: Agur’s Generation

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:7-9.

What is the wisdom in Agur’s prayer?

  • Agur seems to know that he needs protection from dishonesty, self-deception, hypocrisy, and lying.
  • He also recognizes that it is a blessing to have only what you need. There are risks for those with too much and too little.

Read Proverbs 30:10 to the group.

In Agur’s time, there was a family bond between a servant and master. How should this type of bond translate into today’s society?

  • Most of us would defend our families. That is not the issue here. The master-servant relationship has taken on a different form in our society. Workers and employers, parents with teachers, a congregation with its ministers, etc. all should exemplify the type of protective relationship mentioned here.

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:11-14, 17.

Who are the “generation” that Agur is talking about? (there are four groups)

  1. A generation of children who dishonor their parents (v. 11)
  2. A generation of self-righteousness and hypocrisy (v. 12)
  3. A haughty generation, looking down on those “beneath” them (v. 13)
  4. A generation characterized by selfishness and greed (v. 14)

Do you think that we have any of these types of groups in our society today?

  • It is a shame that we have begun to accept this type of behavior. It is commonplace in most of our society and recognized as normal behavior.

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:15-16. This text is referring to the “horse leech,” a picture of insatiable appetite for blood. The horse leech has two suckers, one at each end.

What is his point here?

  • You can never satisfy human greed.

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:18-19. Agur recognizes the miraculous things in nature. His three wonders lead him to a fourth, which is the most wonderful of all.

How would you describe Agur’s wonderment?

  • The Hebrew word used for woman translates as “virgin.” Agur is referring to wholesome romance, healthy lovemaking. The Bible is quite positive in its documentation of a man and woman’s relationship.

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:21-23.

Why are the four circumstances Agur mentions so bad?

  1. The slave becomes a king (a slave is not prepared to reign)
  2. The fool succeeds (the fool does not understand how to handle his abundance.
  3. A married woman is unloved (the unloved woman makes life miserable for her husband)
  4. The servant girl wins her master’s affections and replaces here mistress (the maidservant becomes haughty and upsets the household)

Read Proverbs 30:24-28. This is a lesson on how people with disadvantages can overcome them.

What is the lesson here?

  • Ants, weak by comparison, teach us to plan ahead (v. 25)
  • Coneys (similar to groundhogs), timid and powerless, teach us to make wise choices by staying close to protective crevices where they can dash when threatened (v. 26)
  • Locusts have no apparent leader but they move across the land. This teaches us to work together (v. 27)
  • The desert lizard, so small, it is held in the hand, teaches us that persistence, not size or strength, is the secret of success (v. 28)

Have someone in the group read Proverbs 30:29-31. The Hebrew word used here is translated to mean “stately.” It refers to those who do things well.

Can you see the point of this?

  • The Bible does not value mediocrity.

Read to the group Proverbs 30:32-33.

End with this thought:

  • We are given advice to quickly seek the silence of humiliation and repentance if we realize that we have acted foolishly. Pride leads to anger and quarreling.

Bible Truth Being Taught

True wisdom is based on a humble attitude that acknowledges the limits of human knowledge, the greatness of God, and the reliability of God’s Word.

Our Response

To recognize our limits, our dependence on God to show us Himself, and delight in the wisdom that comes from our limitations.

Share