“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, 2, Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. 3, I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. 4, Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? 5, Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6, Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:1-6)
The thirtieth chapter of the divinely inspired book of Proverbs is written by Agur (v 1). Although this is the only mention of him in the Bible, Agur has great wisdom to impart to us and we would do well to take heed.
The renowned 16th century Reformer John Calvin, in the first chapter of his Institutes of the Christian Religion wrote, “True wisdom principally consists of two parts — the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves. Which of these two branches of knowledge comes first, it is hard to determine. They are intimately bound together. For, our very existence is nothing but a subsistence in God. A true vision of God and His perfections, however, casts us flat to the ground.” This may have been Agur’s heart attitude as he penned verses 2-4, before he proceeds to exalt the Word of God and to exhort readers to the right response.
Agur admits that he is undeserving for the present work because he is no better than other men (vv 2-3). He also acknowledges the condescension of God to man in giving him His inerrant and preserved Word. Just as no one can know God’s name nor His Son’s name unless He reveals them (v 4), we cannot also know what are God’s words and promises unless they are written and graciously given to us.
Sadly, there are still many who deny the purity of God’s Word. Unable to acknowledge that the Bible of 2,000 years ago remains unchanged today, they rationalise that mistakes must have inadvertently crept in over the centuries; and as such, only the doctrines – and not every word – are preserved. This is a grave mistake. If we are unsure of the authenticity of every word of the Bible, how then can we be certain that all the doctrines we believe in are not an addition to Scripture? How can we be so sure that we are not found as liars before the Almighty God, unless we have every one of His words?
Rather than having a critical mind, we must believe that God means what He says and says what He means: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt 24: 35). We must not only believe, but with a grateful heart recognise that it is a tremendous privilege to have every word of God made available to us in the Bible. This truth was reiterated by the Apostle Peter in his epistle – that the same revelation was what “the angels desire to look into” (I Pet 1: 12).
Thus, we are most wonderfully blessed and should never take God’s Word lightly, presuming that we can live a day without having it to guide and lead us. God can do without our words, but we most certainly cannot do without His words. Let us echo the words of Agur, and pray that our Lord may grant us the sincere desire to diligently seek after Him through the daily reading of Scripture, so that we may know and love Him as we ought.
- Bro Kelvin Li