September 20, 2015

As I wrap up preaching through Proverbs, chapter 30 has several themes. I suppose I could address each theme individually, but instead I will preach from the verses that describe the four small things that are “extremely wise.”

Still, there is another description that causes me to pause and think.

Proverbs 30:15-16

The leach has two daughters.

Give! Give! They cry.

There are three things that are never satisfied,

Four that never say, ‘Enough!’

The grave,

The barren womb,

Land, which is never satisfied with water

And fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

While I realize that it is possible to be satisfied with things that are not as they should be and that dissatisfaction does motivate us to healthy and beneficial change. Still, it would seem that Agur (the writer of Proverbs 30) is encouraging us to be satisfied. He promotes satisfaction by pointing out four things that are NEVER satisfied. Four things that none of us would consider admirable and desirable: the grave, a childless woman, the thirsty desert, and a blazing fire. I really do not think any of us would want to be like either of those four examples.

It draws me back to the beginning verse, “The leach has two daughters. Give! Give! They cry.” In my mind, it begs the question, Am I always wanting God to give me something? Is my connection with God about getting from Him? Getting forgiveness. Getting abundant life. Getting things I want. Getting my way in relationships. Getting help with my problems. Getting, getting, getting.

When I stop and think about it, it is not a very attractive picture (and neither are Agur’s four other pictures). Do I really want to be a spiritual leach?

How about turning that around. How about asking God a very different kind of question. What can I give? Who can I serve? Where am I needed? How can I help?

The more I think about it, the more Agur’s words sound like Jesus. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Agur gives us a warning, Jesus gives us an invitation. Both show us the path to the kind of life God intends us to live.

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