Introduction: The Proverbs repeatedly tell us that wisdom brings
wealth and happiness, while being a fool or lazy brings poverty and
grief. When people are doing very well in life, are they generally
humble? My observation is that they are not humble, and for a very
simple reason. Since what they have been doing in life has turned out
well, they think their opinions are superior to those whose lives
have not turned out as well. Perhaps they are right. The problem is
that the Bible cites humility as a virtue, and proud people are not
being wise. Let’s dig into our study of Proverbs to better
understand the virtue of humility!

  1. Ignorant and Wrong

    1. Read Proverbs 30:1-2. Some commentaries say these names
      are symbolic of other Bible characters, others say that it
      is the meaning of the names that is important. Who is the
      speaker? (Agur. We will keep things simple and treat this
      as only the speaker’s name.)

      1. What kind of opinion does the speaker have of his
        knowledge and education? (He says he is the most
        ignorant person. That is humility!)

    2. Read Proverbs 30:3. What special ignorance does Agur
      confess? (He does not know about God. He has not learned

    3. Read Proverbs 30:4. Let’s restate these questions in the
      language of today. How about this:

      1. Who is God?

      2. Where is heaven?

      3. Who controls the weather?

      4. Who sets the boundaries of the oceans?

      5. Who decided where the land ends?

      6. What is the name of God and the name of His Son?

        1. What do you think is unique about these
          questions? (They are some of the great
          questions of life.)

        2. What do these questions assume that modern
          humans might not? (They assume a thinking
          entity governs the universe.)

    4. Read Proverbs 30:5. Wait a minute! Is another person
      writing here? Did Agur just have a bolt of wisdom strike
      him? What has happened to cause Agur to point to the
      “flawless” words of God? (For this to make sense, Agur
      must be a believer in God. His message is that the answers
      to all of these fundamental questions in life come from
      God. We might not realize it, but when it comes to
      answering these fundamental questions of life, like Agur,
      we are pretty uniformed.)

      1. How is God a shield when it comes to the most
        fundamental questions of life? (God gives us inside
        knowledge. We might not know a lot, but what we know
        is important.)

    5. Read Proverbs 30:6 and Deuteronomy 4:2. Deuteronomy 4:2 is
      one of my favorite passages because it reminds us that
      making up new rules is just as wrong as saying it is okay
      to ignore God’s existing rules. I think this text should
      be posted in every Christian school! Is Proverbs 30:6 just
      repeating this same truth? (I think we have something
      different in Proverbs. The topic is some of the ultimate
      questions in life. God says don’t add to that which has
      been revealed.)

      1. Does this mean we should ignore science? (Psalms
        19:1-3 reveals that nature teaches us about God. I
        don’t think this text is telling us to ignore nature
        and what it reveals through science.)

      2. Let’s apply Proverbs 30:6 to the age of the earth.
        Does the Bible clearly reveal the age of the earth?
        (I don’t think so. Genesis 1:2 tells us that
        something existed prior to God’s creation week.
        Genesis 1:12 tells us that God created mature plants
        and trees – meaning that they were created with an
        age. I don’t think, although I’m not sure, that
        serious Bible students believe the Bible genealogies
        are complete and intended to be a way of dating the
        earth. This may be an area where if we “add to God’s
        words” we will prove to be liars.)

      3. What is Agur’s practical message here? (There are
        many things God has not revealed to us. Don’t start
        asserting things that God has not clearly revealed –
        and then get embarrassed when you are proven wrong.)

      4. What has this to do with humility? (Pay attention to
        what you don’t know, and confess when you don’t know,
        instead of making stuff up.)

      5. When you think of Agur’s words, what does this teach
        us about our relationship to God? (God is our point
        of reference. We should be humble when compared to

        1. When we start making up stuff, and claim it is
          right because we are Christians, whose
          reputation suffers? (We claim to speak on
          behalf of God! God says, “Whoa, there, don’t
          make stuff up in My Name!”)

  2. The Advantage of Humility

    1. Read Proverbs 30:7-8. A common term in the United States
      is “bucket list.” It means the list of things you want to
      do before you die. For example, it might be “see the Grand
      Canyon,” or “go sky-diving.” I’m not sure I have anything
      in my “bucket,” but Agur has two thing in his bucket. What
      are they? (Be true and honest. Be “middle of the road”
      when it comes to money.)

      1. I understand the goal of honesty, buy why look for
        average when it comes to wealth?

    2. Read Proverbs 30:9. Here is the answer about making
      average the goal. What are the problems with wealth and
      poverty? (The problem with wealth is that you depend on it
      instead of God. You “disown” God. The problem with
      poverty is that you are tempted to steal – and God does
      not condone stealing even when you are poor.)

    3. Read Proverbs 30:10. What does this have to do with
      humility? (Why would you criticize another employee? Might
      it be to make you look better to the boss? If so, that is
      a humility problem.)

      1. Who is cursing you here? (The other employee!)

    4. Read Proverbs 30:11-12. How many people blame their
      parents for the problems in their lives?

      1. Who should bear the blame in these verses? (The child
        has “filth,” but thinks that he is “pure.” This
        suggests the child is not thinking realistically
        about his parents or himself.)

    5. Read Proverbs 30:13-14. What are the real problems in this
      child’s life? (Pride and cutting words. This is not a nice

      1. Who is victimized by this wicked person? (The poor
        and needy.)

      2. Why pick on the poor and needy? (They seem

    6. Read Proverbs 30:15-16. Have we reversed course? Is Agur
      now talking about the failure of the poor? If not, who is
      the “leech” and her daughters? (They are people who want
      you to give to them.)

      1. Why does Agur go next to the list of things “that are
        never satisfied?” (It suggests a class of people who
        are leeches – they want you to give to them and they
        are never satisfied.)

      2. If Agur intended to make a point about some people,
        why did he refer to inanimate things like fire, water
        and the grave? (Perhaps he is saying that is the
        nature of some people. Perhaps he is saying that is
        the nature of some problems – they are never solved

        1. Has this “never satisfied” group something to
          do with humility? (A sense of entitlement is a
          humility problem.)

    7. Read Proverbs 30:20. Why throw in the part about eating?
      (It shows that this lady is very casual about what she has

      1. How would you apply the lessons on humility here?
        (Just like the wicked child who blamed his parents,
        yet was “pure” in his own eyes, the adulteress has a
        false pride that she has done nothing wrong.)

    8. Read Proverbs 30:32-33. At what point should we address
      pride? (The battle is in the mind. We need to stop our
      pride there (clap your hand over your mouth) and not let
      it escape our lips and produce strife.)

    9. Friend, how much of an issue is pride in your life? Why
      not ask the Holy Spirit right now to help you “clap your
      hand over your mouth?”

  3. Next week: Women and Wine.