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Agur, the Obscure

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December 11, 2023

Today we come to Proverbs 30:1-10 where we read “the sayings of Agur, son of Jakeh.” Agur his father, Jakeh, are two ancient, middle eastern men whose origins are obscure and about whom little is actually known. We might call him Agur, the Obscure. However, what is most important in this section is what Agur wrote in verses 5-6: “every word of God is flawless” and “nothing is to be added to His words.” It is especially significant that a little-known ancient should subscribe to these truths, for how many “modern” individuals hold to them today? We also notice Agur’s humility - he confesses that his “understanding” is miserable nonsense weighed against “the knowledge of the Holy One”- a point that we establish repeatedly. Yet, Agur is surprisingly wise beyond many of today’s so-called “scholars.” Agur’s five questions (verse 4) still reflect the basic questions raised by post-modern thinkers – particularly mockers - today. Of course, from a biblical point of view, all the answers to Agur’s questions are bound up exclusively in God - “the Holy One.” Although Agur is unknown to us, his writings here were divinely “inspired” (verse 1), and God was pleased to include them in His holy Word – giving them eternal relevance.

In Revelation 2:1-17, we read Christ’s letters to three of the seven churches – to Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum. All three of these churches receive our Lord’s commendation, but the former and the latter also receive His rebuke. Ephesus had “forsaken its first love” (verse 4); Pergamum opened itself up to false teaching and the subsequent sins that relate to such teaching. The Lord found no fault with the church at Smyrna. What do we learn from these churches? Some key principles to take away: (1) from Ephesus we learn that purity in doctrine and hard work are vital strengths, but sound teaching and diligence should not prevail at the expense of love. Love is the identifying mark of a believer. (2) From Smyrna we learn that our practice faithful service – even to the point of persecution – is rewarded. We must never give up. (3) From Pergamum we learn the importance of remaining faithful and true to our faith and knowing, identifying, and separating ourselves from false teachings, teachers, and their sinful practices. Jesus says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (verses 7, 11, and 17).

In Zechariah 12-14, we read God’s prophetic plans for Jerusalem’s future. God “will keep a watchful eye” on Judah, and though there may be “weeping,” God will “shield Jerusalem which will remain intact” (verses 4-ff). In chapter 13, we see “that day,” - a reference to the Day of the LORD, when God will “cleanse His people from sin and impurity” (verses 1-2). We see a prophetic reference to the “striking of the Shepherd” – understood as the arrest and crucifixion of Christ in the New Testament. In chapter 14, Zechariah concludes his book with the glorious conquest and future world reign of Jesus Christ - “the LORD and King Who will reign over the whole earth” (verse 9). “On that day, HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed” on everything that was formerly common (verse 20) - revealing how God will renew and sanctify all things in the culmination (cf., 1 Peter 4:7-11). How incredible is the future that God has planned for us! It seems that the eternal words of Agur, the Obscure continue to ring true today … “God is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (Proverbs 30:5).

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