While it sounds like he should ride in on a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty “Hi yo, Scripture!” – Agur The Mysterious without a faithful Indian companion, is a daring and resourceful interpreter of wisdom who led the fight for truth and justice before the birth of Christ. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find any real proof of him.
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering declarations as Agur the Mysterious rides again!
He may be somewhat of a Scriptural superhero. Doubt that?
Look it up in the Bible!
It’s a bird!
It’s a plane!
No it’s not Superman….. It’s Agur the Mysterious…. A strange visitor from The Book of Proverbs who came to earth with powers and abilities beyond those of most men.
Agur the Mysterious who can change the course of your thoughts, bend insights into enlightened knowledge and who more than likely never existed…..
Who was he supposed to be and why is he only mentioned once in the Bible, yet an entire chapter is dedicated to his wisdom? Those are some of the questions we’ll examine on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
I really do want to thank each and everyone of you for joining us here. Whether you have been following this series for nearly a month now; or if you have just found us.
We are involved in an ongoing study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs. If you’d like to know more about The Passion Translation and why we are using it for this undertaking, you can find a recap near the end of today’s conversation.
Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.
Last Wednesday our discussion had some pretty intense subheadings to it. “Don’t Be Stubborn” and “ You Can’t Argue with a Fool”.
As I alluded to, these are both labels I have worn in my life. Stubborn, foolish and even argumentative not on;y with others- and sometimes in general, but also with myself!
So in sharing my life lessons, I can add testimony to the wisdom shared in these passages.
The opening verse was right; to a point. I’ll contest the last few words, but realize that involves each individual taking personal responsibility for change, growth and “Becoming”.
Let’s re-read the passage, “Stubborn people who repeatedly refuse to accept correction will suddenly be broken and never recover”.
I was an extremely stubborn person. For decades I tried to rationalize it’s just who I was and tried to justify my poor behavior by claiming life turned me that way. It did not. I allowed it to occur and grab hold of me, preventing me from seeing and accepting the truth.
I was the aforementioned stubborn person through and through. I repeatedly refused to accept the correction, gentle and otherwise. I was unrepentant, felt I was entitled to my obstinate nature, and could not be told otherwise.
Until I learned the toll it was taking on both my physical and emotional health. I was learning a lesson, that stubbornness often attracts other bad behaviors.
Stubbornness and pride not only often walk hand in hand, they can , as they did in my case, become quite intermingled and spawn, a third even more powerful negative mental reaction, that for now I’ll just call their “love-child”.
Though as I’ll share in a bit, this offspring has nothing to do with either love or being childlike.
Anyway back to verse one, while I certainly learned the hard way that refusing to release or even consider examining the issues behind my pigheadedness did indeed make me broken. However once I came to understand I had to change I did indeed recover. Now sticking your head in the sand or trying to ignore the signs, as I was guilty of, did delay my overcoming, but once I did seek that glimmer of light illuminating a different path forward, I ran to it, and am so thankful I did.
If you’re like I was then, I want to reassure you that stubborn and even prideful are not labels we have to wear for life.
Next we’ll press ahead to Proverbs 30.
The Mysterious Sayings of Agur
These are the collected sayings of the prophet Agur, Jakeh’s son[a]—
God, I’m so weary and worn out,
I feel more like a beast than a man.
I was made in your image,[d]
but I lack understanding.
I’ve yet to learn the wisdom
that comes from the full and intimate knowledge of you,
the Holy One.
Who is it that travels back and forth
from the heavenly realm to the earth?[e]
Who controls the wind[f] as it blows and holds it in his fists?
Who tucks the rain into the cloak of his clouds?
Who stretches out the skyline from one vista to the other?
What is his name?
And what is the name of his Son?
Who can tell me?
A Pure Heart Is Filled with God’s Word
Every promise from the faithful God
is pure and proves to be true.
He is a wraparound shield of protection for all his lovers
who run to hide in him.
Never add to his words,
or he will have to rebuke you and prove that you’re a liar.
God, there are two things I’m asking you for before I die, only two:
Empty out of my heart everything that is false—
every lie, and every crooked thing.
And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth—
but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity
that pleases you.
May my satisfaction be found in you.
Don’t let me be so rich that I don’t need you
or so poor that I have to resort to dishonesty
just to make ends meet.
Then my life will never detract from bringing glory to your name.
Never defame a servant before his master,
for you will be the guilty one
and a curse will come upon you.
There is a generation rising that curses their fathers
and speaks evil of their mothers.
There is a generation rising that considers themselves
to be pure in their own eyes,[g]
yet they are morally filthy,[h] unwashed, and unclean.
There is a generation rising that is so filled with pride,
they think they are superior and look down on others.
There is a generation rising that uses their words like swords
to cut and slash those who are different.
They would devour the poor, the needy, and the afflicted
from off the face of the earth!
There are three words to describe the greedy:
“Give me more!”
There are some things that are never satisfied.
Forever craving more, they’re unable to say, “That’s enough!”
Here are four:
the grave, yawning for another victim,
the barren womb, ever wanting a child,
thirsty soil, ever longing for rain,
and a raging fire, devouring its fuel.
They’re all insatiable.
The eye that mocks his father and dishonors his elderly mother[i]
deserves to be plucked out by the ravens of the valley
and fed to the young vultures![j]
There are four marvelous mysteries
that are too amazing to unravel[k]—
who could fully explain them?[l]
The way an eagle flies in the sky,[m]
the way a snake glides on a boulder,[n]
the path of a ship as it passes through the sea,[o]
and the way a bridegroom falls in love with his bride.[p]
Here is the deceptive way of the adulterous woman:[q]
she takes what she wants and then says,
“I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Four Intolerable Things
There are four intolerable events
that[r] are simply unbearable to observe:
when an unfaithful servant becomes a ruler,
when a scoundrel comes into great wealth,
when an unfaithful woman marries a good man,
and when a mistress replaces a faithful wife.
Four Creatures Small and Wise
The earth has four creatures that are very small but very wise:[s]
The feeble ant has little strength,
yet look how it diligently gathers its food in the summer
to last throughout the winter.[t]
The delicate rock-badger isn’t all that strong,
yet look how it makes a secure home, nestled in the rocks.[u]
The locusts have no king to lead them,
yet they cooperate as they move forward by bands.[v]
And the small lizard[w] is easy to catch
as it clings to the walls with its hands,
yet it can be found inside a king’s palace.[x]
Four Stately Things
There are four stately monarchs[y]
who are impressive to watch as they go forth:
the lion, the king of the jungle, who is afraid of no one,
the rooster strutting boldly among the hens,[z]
the male goat out in front leading the herd,
and a king leading his regal procession.[aa]
If you’ve acted foolishly by drawing attention to yourself,
or if you’ve thought about saying something stupid,
you’d better shut your mouth.
For such stupidity may give you a bloody nose!
Stirring up an argument only leads to an angry confrontation.[ab]
Take a moment to reflect and then we’ll continue our conversation about some of these wise insights and suggestions.
As we began our discussion today I mentioned there are a few questions about the identity and even the existence of the man given credit for this chapter. Who is Agur the Mysterious?
Your explanation may be as good as anyone else’s.
There are no other references to him in the Bible, no historical records connected with him being noteworthy, though he remains a person of interest.
As the reading today opened, “These are the collected sayings of the prophet Agur, Jakeh’s son[a]”’
The Passion Translation footnote, discusses “This section of Proverbs is attributed to Agur, who gave these oracles to his protégés Ithiel and Ukal”. Never heard of them? You’re not alone theologians aren’t sure they were real people either.
Some theologians even claim that Agur is a pseudonym, a pen name, for Solomon. Now what would the wisest man of his time want to “publish” these specific thoughts under another name?
My thoughts immediately go to our earlier conversation about the sayings of the ”Wise Sages”. And the following sections which addressed insights noted as “Revelations From The Wise”, apparently they do not involve the aforementioned ‘wise sages’.
I have no idea what the requirement is to officially be considered a “sage”, (giggle) or why these final offerings today do not ascend to that level, but nevertheless they seem to me to be equally as important.
And now with a title like Agur the Mysterious I feel that some editor over time believed perhaps these were more important than those, because this “sage” not only had a name, he had a capeworthy title.
So stay tuned as we’ll go beyond the headlines and examine some of the works of this Biblical superhero.
In verse four Agur began by asking for some input. In one passage he asked six questions:
- Who is it that travels back and forth from the heavenly realm to the earth?
- Who controls the wind as it blows and holds it in his fists?
- Who tucks the rain into the cloak of his clouds?
- Who stretches out the skyline from one vista to the other?
- What is his name? And what is the name of his Son?
- Who can tell me?
Now riddle me this Agur, did you really need to ask or were you just trying to see if people were paying attention?
The riddle is solved for us, as the answers are found in the New Testament. As the footnote indicates, “ Jesus solves this riddle in John 3:13. Only Jesus Christ is the master of heavenly knowledge and wisdom”.
It’s also suggested that we refer to Ephesians 4:7–10. Here we learn that we are all eligible to receive the gift of Grace, as Christ descended from the Heavens and undertook a course to ensure it and our eternal salvation; should we choose to accept this mission possible.
Now I’d like to look at the section called, “Four Intolerable Things”.
In verses 21 through 23, I pictured us being invited to gather round together almost with a call of “Come all without, come all within, You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty” Agur…
The purpose of his call is to share with us that, “ There are four intolerable events that are simply unbearable to observe”.
Unfortunately we still do observe these things and feel the ramifications of allowing these people too often go unchallenged in their actions. I’m not saying we should be throwing stones or launching attacks, I am recommending we use better judgement in those we choose to follow, elect or associate with.
The first of these egregious actions is “When an unfaithful servant becomes a ruler,..” followed in the same sentence by “…when a scoundrel comes into great wealth”.
Yes there will be vindication one day for all those who choose to engage in these behaviors we do have a responsibility to ourselves not to suffer unnecessary affliction. Vigilance and integrity are keys to always being “Becoming”.
The third “intolerable thing” is “when an unfaithful woman marries a good man,…” It takes two to tango, so both parties involved here have the choice and should have the necessary insights to avoid a life ruled by illicit behavior and pain
Then the fourth event mentioned is “…when a mistress replaces a faithful wife”. Again all parties involved here can prevent it from happening.
We are given self control and self discipline.All we must do is accept the personal responsibility for our choices and actions.
We have the right to and must accept the responsibility to pursue a course that enlightens, invokes and advances ‘’the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state”. Coming to be always, “Becoming”. Growing, developing and shifting into an attitude and daily practice of “Always Being Becoming”.
It is important to know your rights so that when; and more and more they are actively trying to; take them away, you can stop them. You have a responsibility to understand and accept what your rights are . While also endeavoring to always be respectful of the rights of others.
Remember there are no rights without responsibilities.
So what is the difference between rights and responsibilities?
A right is a privilege granted by an authority. Be it elected or appointed bodies of governance or by supernatural means, of an inherent nature bestowed upon us by the Grace of God.
A responsibility is a duty or obligation that is accepted, and put into action.
In order to fully accept your reality, you must take ownership of any role you may have played, good or bad, in leading you to where you are. Only when you choose to accept personal responsibility then can you work on decisions for the next steps.
Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.
As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate.
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I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared journey we call “Becoming Today”.
For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.
We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion.
This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes.
I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.
Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.
As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.
I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.
Done so by Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the”message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change.
Thank you again for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to above are available here and include underlined study links:
a. 30:1 This section of Proverbs is attributed to Agur, who gave these oracles to his protégés Ithiel and Ukal. Agur means “to gather a harvest.” He was the son of Jakeh, which means “blameless” or “obedient.” Jakeh could be another name for David, Solomon’s father. Many Jewish expositors believe that Agur was a pseudonym for Solomon. Nothing more is mentioned about Agur in the Bible than what we have here, which is typical for other prophets mentioned in the Scriptures. Some believe he could be the “master of the collection of sayings” referred to in Eccl. 12:11.
b. 30:1 Or “mighty prophecy.”
c. 30:1 The name Ithiel can mean “God is with me” or “God has arrived.” This was fulfilled by Christ, for his birth was the advent, the arrival of God to the earth in human form. Ukal means “I am able” or “I am strong and mighty.” When placed together, the meaning of these Hebrew names could read “Gather a harvest of sons who are blameless and obedient. They will have God with them, and they will be strong and mighty.” This chapter contains some of the most mystical and mysterious sayings found in Proverbs, with hints of revelation from the book of Job.
d. 30:2 Implied in the text, which is extraordinarily difficult to translate with certainty.
f. 30:4 The Hebrew word ruach (wind) is also the term used for the Holy Spirit.
h. 30:12 The Hebrew uses the word excrement.
i. 30:17 As translated from the Septuagint.
j. 30:17 This is a figure of speech for demonic powers that will remove their vision. Ravens and vultures are unclean birds associated with demonic powers in Hebrew poetry.
k. 30:18 The Hebrew uses a poetic style of saying there are three mysteries, then saying there are four in order to emphasize their great importance. There could be within this poetic device a pointing to the fourth as the key, or the most important.
l. 30:18 Notice that each of these four examples have to do with movement and mystery.
m. 30:19 This is a picture of the overcoming life that soars above its problems and limitations with the wings of an eagle. It could also be a hint of the prophetic revelation that comes to God’s servants mysteriously and supernaturally. See Isa. 40:31 and 1 Cor. 2:9–13.
o. 30:19 This is a picture of the way our lives, like a ship, sail on the high seas of mystery until we reach our destiny. Our lives contain mysteries, such as where God decided that we were to be born, how we were raised, and the companions who join us until we reach our desired haven. See Ps. 107:23–30.
p. 30:19 The Hebrew word translated “bride” can also mean “virgin,” pointing to a wedding, thus implying the use of “bridegroom” instead of “man.” (Consider Ruth and Boaz.) More important, this is a beautiful metaphor for the mystery of the love of our heavenly Bridegroom (Jesus), who romances his bride and sweeps us off our feet. Love is a mystery. See also 2 Cor. 11:2 and Eph. 5:32.
r. 30:21 See the first footnote for v. 18. These four events each depict a promotion undeserved, a displacing of one who is virtuous with one who is corrupt. Each promotion indicates that they will carry their corruption with them. The unfaithful servant will likely become a tyrant. The fool who becomes wealthy will squander his wealth. The unfaithful woman (or “hated woman”) will continue her immorality even after she’s married. The girlfriend who replaced the faithful wife will likely find another man one day.]
s. 30:24 Or “They are the epitome of wisdom.”
t. 30:25 To prepare for the future is a mark of true wisdom.
w. 30:28 Or “spider.”
x. 30:28 Though we may see ourselves as insignificant (like the small lizard), God can place us in significant places where we can be used for him.
z. 30:31 As translated from the Septuagint.
aa. 30:31 Or “a king surrounded by his band of soldiers.” The Hebrew text is abstruse.
bb. 30:33 Or “Churning milk makes butter, and punching the nose brings blood, so stirring up anger produces quarrels.” The Hebrew contains a word play with the word anger, which is almost identical to the word for “nose.”
The Passion Translation®.
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