Today we continue with words of wisdom from Agur:
There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. There are those who are pure in their own eyes yet are not cleansed of their filthiness. There are those—how lofty are their eyes, how high their eyelids lift!—there are those whose teeth are swords, whose teeth are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mortals. The leech has two daughters; “Give, give,” they cry. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”: Sheol, the barren womb, the earth ever thirsty for water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.” (Prov. 30:11-16)
The sayings in verses 11-14 are linked by their common opening; they are kinds of behavior that are condemned elsewhere in Proverbs. The first looks back to Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother. Secondly, there is self-righteousness which blinds a person to their own failings. Third, are the proud and arrogant. Finally, there is the "leech" who selfishly cries for more and is never satisfied (the two daughters reference is to a leech's have two suckers: one that attaches itself to the victim and one that sucks blood). The next two verses give a list of insatiable things: (1) death. represented by Sheol (there is always room for more people to die); (2) birth, represented by barren women (in Agur's days, a woman's worth was intertwined with the ability to have children); (3) water in time of drought; and (4) fire which burns as long as it has fuel. These things represent situations in which no matter how much is given, it will never be enough.
Meditation: Why does Agur stress these four things above all else: dishonoring parents, self-righteousness, pride, and selfishness? Perhaps because in each of these circumstances, the person who has these qualities places himself or herself above others, including God. We've all met people who are totally self-absorbed - and, if we're honest, we can all see a little of these tendencies in ourselves from time to time. The key is not to let them consume us or become what defines us. Do you find yourself more susceptible in one area over the others? Defining an area of concern is a first step to understanding and then asking God for help in overcoming.