Lessons in Humility – Prov 30

Proverbs 30 contains the words of a man named Agur, about which nothing else is known, except that he has this prophecy and is writing to two other unknown men named Ithiel and Ucal. But what we read about him and from him is very helpful, as he has some great observations about our world and some excellent lessons about humility and pride.

  1. Wise people are humble people (v.2-4). Agur has much wisdom to share, but he knows that in comparison to the great God of heaven, he is a brute. He doesn’t even feel like he has average human understanding. He knows he has not mastered wisdom or knowledge. His humble perspective comes from considering the power, wisdom, and glory of God. Like Job, a clear perspective of God brings him to his knees and frames his entire life. So, if we would be wise, then we must begin with fearing/respecting God, and as we do, this will create a deep sense of humility in us.
  2. Humble people trust in God and God’s Word (v.5-6). The source of all wisdom comes from the pure word of God. Those who trust in God find He is a shield and a protector. And no person should be so proud as to add to God’s Word. Those who do will be reproved by God and exposed as liars. The proudest thing we can do is to doubt God’s Word or seek to improve it in some way. Humble people submit to God’s Word and trust in God.
  3. Humble people fear lies and pride (v.7-9). Agur asks God to remove far from him vanity and lies. He does not want to get involved in the wrong type of thinking that will cause him to believe the lie that he is somebody. He also prays for the Lord to give him only what he needs so that he does not get so low he curses God or so high he denies God. Another mark of humility is a healthy fear of believing a lie and becoming proud.
  4. Humble people mind their own business (v.10). They don’t get involved in affairs that don’t concern them. They know that to do so will only get them into trouble as well.
  5. Humble people learn to not be disrespectful, hypocritical, arrogant, or oppressive (v.11-14). Agur observes that there is a generation of people who disrespect their parents, see themselves as pure though they are filthy, are lofty in their own eyes and are violent to others. There are so many ways that pride can manifest itself, and we must learn to call pride what it is and confess it.
  6. Humble people are content (v.15-17). Agur observes that the grave, the barren womb, the earth and fire are all greedy, wanting more and more, like leeches. The wise person, the humble person, learns to be satisfied and to respect his parents and those who are wiser than him. Those who think they are worthy of more and more will be punished.
  7. Humble people admit that they don’t know everything (v.18-20). Agur then talks about four things that are ‘too wonderful’ for him, things he does not know. If we always have an answer or think we know the right way, this may be a sign of pride. The humble person admits they don’t know everything, but carefully seeks to know the warns of the Bible (such as the adulterous woman v.20). Sometimes, the wisest thing we can do is seek to know what the Bible says and admit that we can’t understand other things that the Bible doe snot explain.
  8. Humble people accept their lot on this earth (v.21-23). Agur says there are four things that ‘disquiet’ (upset, agitate) the earth. All four of these pertain to a person being put in a position for which they are unprepared or unqualified. The lesson here is to not always think you deserve or can handle something that God has not given you. God may choose to promote you at some point, but don’t pridefully seek promotion. Trust the Lord and accept where He has put You. This is humble wisdom.
  9. Humble people make the most of their situation and abilities (v.24-28). On the other side of things from v.21-23, accepting our lot in life does not mean we do nothing. On the contrary, it means we make the most of it. The ant, the coney, the locust and the spider may be small, yet they, through foresight, creativity, organisation and ingenuity, accomplish a great deal. They overcome their small size with creative means. As we humble accept our lot in life, assigned to us by God, we begin to see the advantages of the position in which He has placed us and we make the most of our situation and even our limitations. Even Paul’s thorn in the flesh, which he wanted removed, was an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to sustain him.
  10. Humble people are not envious (v.29-31). Agur is able to observe and commend those things which are ‘comely in going’, those things and individuals that are well respected by everyone. He talks about the lion, the greyhound, the he goat and the king. It seems that Agur was not a well-known or highly-commended individual on this earth (see v.2-), yet he is humble able to acknowledge those who are – without envy. If we find ourselves envying others, jealous of their position, their respect, their success, this is a mark of pride. Fools get upset with where God places them. Wise people accept it and make the most of it.
  11. Humble people repent of pride (v.32-33). Finally, the application is made to the person who has foolishly lifted up himself or had evil/prideful thoughts. The challenge is to repent of those thoughts and that pride, to lay our hands upon our mouths, to stop with such prideful words and thoughts. To realise that as surely as churning milk brings forth butter and twisting a nose brings forth blood, so anger and frustration (coming from pride) will only bring forth trouble (‘strife’).

What a convicting chapter! What powerful lessons for us. In a world of comparison, envy, jealousy and pride, this is a much-needed rebuke. May God help us to see the pride in our lives, and, with His help and grace, to cultivate humility and wisdom.

Only God is worthy of praise and honour. We should rejoice in the privilege to be His servants, to trust in Him and to have His Word to guide and His presence to shield us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.