Friday, August 28, 2009

Proverbs 30: 10-20

10Do not slander a slave to his master,
Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty.
11There is a kind of man who curses his father
And does not bless his mother.
12There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,
Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
13There is a kind--oh how lofty are his eyes!
And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.
14There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords
And his jaw teeth like knives,
To devour the afflicted from the earth
And the needy from among men.
15The leech has two daughters,
"Give," "Give."
There are three things that will not be satisfied,
Four that will not say, "Enough":
16Sheol, and the barren womb,
Earth that is never satisfied with water,
And fire that never says, "Enough."
17The eye that mocks a father
And scorns a mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.
18There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
19The way of an eagle in the sky,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
And the way of a man with a maid.
20This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, "I have done no wrong."

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?
Today, I'm pulling out verses 15 and 16:

"The leech has two daughters,
'Give,' 'Give.'
There are three things that will not be satisfied,
Four that will not say, 'Enough':
Sheol, and the barren womb,
Earth that is never satisfied with water,
And fire that never says, "Enough."
Leeches were common in the Middle East. We know that they have been used for medicinal purposes. The King James' uses 'horse leach,' which can also be translated "vampire." The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia notes that the Arabic translation, which is almost identical to the Hebrew, is 'ghoul,' "an evil spirit which seeks to injure men and which preys upon the dead." So, right off the bat [Get it, vampire...bat--terrible!], we're talking about something really nasty.

But wait, there are daughters! The Message uses "Gimme" and "Gimme more." Matthew Henry's Commentary calls them "Cruelty and covetousness...and they are continually uneasy to themselves." What sucks the life out of us? Indeed!

On the tail of the "Gimme" girls, Agur comes at us with a list of four things that are also never satisfied. We just read in Proverbs 27 that Sheol, Abaddon and the eyes of men are never satisfied. Sheol, "the grave" (KJV), or "Hell" (The Message), will continuously look to swallow up whoever it can. Satan will never be satisfied until he can lure every last man. Praise God, we know he won't and can't, but that will not quench his desire to do whatever damage he can.

The barren womb cannot be satisfied without intervention from God. Rachel and Jacob experienced the challenge of a barren womb. So did Hannah. Sarah didn't have a child for years! If you have been in the position of having a deep longing for a child and not having that longing fulfilled, you can easily start to doubt and feel a dissatisfaction (if not outright depression) with life in general.

The last two "unsatiables" (The Message) are environmental. The King James' says "Earth that is not filled with water." Also, the fire that continues to burn and grow. Barren land will always seek to be quenched. Fires do not put themselves out of their own will.

What do we learn from these many examples that Agur offers? It echoes Solomon's teachings about our restless and dissatisfied selves. Human beings are not often content with anything, are they? How often I've looked out the window at our summer-dreary plants and dry lawn asking where the rain is. Carmen, I have no doubt that you are praying for those wildfires to cease (despite God's blessing of an amazing moon!).

Really, the more I think about the things that go unsatisfied, the more I can look to God and say Lord, You know what is best--for now, for all earth's days. Fire and rain are under Your control. You may bless with children or bless without children. And through Jesus' saving work, we are looking to our Heavenly home and not at a home with chains that bind us to the evil one.

For me, Paul has the lock on the quote that I need to live by in any season of dissatisfaction:

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

--Philippians 4: 11-13


* * *

Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 30: 21-33 (the words of Agur)
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

* * *

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


Kelly Combs said...

The same verses caught my eye! The barren womb jumped out at me, as far as someone who has experienced infertility and yes, it is hard to be satisfied when you want a child and do not have one. (Praise be to God that he has now blessed me with two!!!!!)

The other verse that caused me pause, was 11. I don't want to be the kind of person who does not bless his (her) mother. Yet, I cannot enter into that relationship without becoming destroyed. Is that what God desires for me? I don't think so. In a perfect world I could have armor and be a blessing to such a sick individual as my mom, but I do not. So I pray God will forgive me for that.

Sue J. said...

"In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents...." --Matthew Henry's commentary on verse 11.

In the Old Testament, the word bless can be used in different ways, and one of those ways is man blessing man, "where the word expresses the wish or hope for the bestowal of the good designated."

You are not someone who has ill-treated her parents. In your heart, I know you wish you could have that relationship with your mom. You can continue to bless your mom--the wish or hope of the bestowal of good--by your prayers for God to be working in her life.

You will always have a relationship with your mom, and so long as you hear His desires for you in that relationship, then you have acted as He wants. It's about you and God before it's about you and your mom. (And He totally knows that!)

Kelly Combs said...

Thanks. :-)