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“Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. 11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. 12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. 13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men” (Proverbs 30: 10-14).

This section begins with a prohibition against a holier-than-thou attitude  presuming that we can do another person’s job better (v 10). We think too highly of ourselves and condemn those who do not live up to our expectations. Oftentimes, these expectations are too unrealistic even for ourselves to achieve. Rather than be quick to judge, we should empathise with them and refrain from unnecessary assessment of others. The Apostle Paul issues the same warning, “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand” (Rom 14: 4).

Agur goes on to describe a generation that is very disrespectful of their own parents (v 11). This is something we ought not to do as Christians. We must never see our parents as burdens, even when the task of taking care of them falls upon our shoulders. They have faithfully performed their parental duty to raise us, and have loved us unconditionally. It is only right and proper that we care for them in their old age.

Dishonouring parents was a sin highlighted by the Apostle Paul in his second epistle to Timothy – as one of the signs of the last days: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim 3: 1-5).)

Verse 12 is an admonition against those who consider themselves pure and upright. While they are quick to judge others, they are blind to their own faults. Excusing themselves for their sins, they are not open to correction as they feel that they are superior to others. Such are proud and vain, thinking only of themselves (v 13).

Then there are others who desire to be at the top of the corporate ladder. They devour the poor and needy in order to achieve what they want (v 14). They have no qualms about hurting and manipulating others in the process.

Beloved brethren, let us constantly scrutinise our personal lives for such sinful tendencies. None is spared from the deception of the evil one. May we not be negligent but be watchful in guarding our spiritual walk. If there are unconfessed sins in our lives, let us be swift to turn from our sinful ways and forsake them. May the Lord be merciful to us that we might never be found in a state of self-deception or conceit.

– Bro Kelvin Li