The Humility of the Wise

The Humility of the Wise

Scripture: Matthew 5:3, Proverbs 30:1-33, Luke 18:9-14
Date: 03/21/2015  Lesson: 12
"Think about just how dependent you are on God. How can keeping that stark fact ever in your mind help you grow in faith?"
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Good evening, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. My name is Jëan Ross and we've been studying through our lesson quarterly dealing with the book of Proverbs. I'd like to welcome those joining us from across the country and around the world as we study together and also I'd like to welcome the Granite Bay church members - thank you for coming out and joining us here for our Tuesday evening Bible study. As mentioned before, we're still working on our lesson quarterly on the book of Proverbs and we're on lesson #12. For our friends joining us, if you don't have the lesson and you'd like to follow along with us, you can download today's lesson at the Granite Bay church website - just granitebaysda.

org - or you can do it at the Amazing Facts website amazingfacts.org. Lesson #12 - and you can follow along with us. We have a free offer that goes along with our study today and it's entitled the high cost of the cross. We'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. The number to call is -788-3966.

That number, again, is -788-3966 and you can ask for offer #156 - the high cost of the cross - or you can read it for free online at the amazing facts website - just amazingfacts.org. Well, before we get to our study again this evening, let's just bow our heads and ask God's blessing on our study. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for the opportunity to gather together to study your word. Lord, we recognize that the Bible is your book, so we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. So lead us in this study.

In Jesus' Name, amen. Amen. Our lesson today, lesson #12, is entitled humility of the wise. We do have a Scripture reading which is Matthew chapter 5, verse 3. I think it's one that's fairly well known to us.

It's the words of Jesus spoken there on the mount: "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." Now a principle passage of study that we'll be looking at is Proverbs chapter 30. So we have some folks that are going to help us read and we're going to work our way through Proverbs 30. So our first reader can get ready, let me just begin by reading the opening statement on the lesson. It says here in the Bible humility is considered a very important virtue. The greatest of the prophets, Moses, is singled out as being the most humble person who ever lived.

You read about that in Numbers chapter 12, verse 3. According to Micah chapter 6, verse 8, the main duty that God expects from people is to walk humbly with their God. Jesus, too, insisted that humility is an ideal that the Christian should adopt. In Matthew chapter 18, verse 4 Jesus said whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. So let's take a look at how Proverbs describes the importance of humility.

A number of important themes are addressed here. It begins in verse 1 by talking about a gentlemen by the name of agur and says that he's The Son of jakeh. Now, who is agur? This is the only time that this person is referenced in the entire Scriptures, so we're not quite sure. Also, his father jakeh is also mentioned just one time and it's here. There are two other names, ithiel and ucal - ucal is only mentioned here in Proverbs 30.

There is somebody referred to as 'ithiel' over in Numbers chapter 11, verse 7. Now we don't know, of course, if this is the same ithiel - there might have been several individuals, but he is said to be a descendant of Benjamin. Also, what we don't know from this passage is whether agur was the one who actually wrote it, or if he just spoke it and ithiel wrote it down - it's unclear. But either way, what we know is that this passage of Scripture, being part of Scripture, is given by the inspiration of God, because we read in 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16 and 17, "all Scripture" - the Bible says - "is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine," - what is doctrine? That is teaching - "for reproof," - that is telling us what we're doing wrong - "for correction," - telling us how we can do the right thing - as well as "for instruction in righteousness," - the word 'righteousness' means 'right doing' - "that the man of God may be (perfect or) complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." So here we have some inspired counsel, given through this individual, that has been passed on from time to time, from group of people in the Scriptures, with wise, inspired counsel for our time. Verse 2 he says, "surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man.

" Here he uses one of the strongest words to describe himself as being, well, I just - I just don't know - he used the word 'stupid' - 'I'm a stupid man. I don't have understanding.' In other words, in comparison to what God knows, we appear very stupid. And especially those who consider themselves wise in their own eyes. From heaven's perspective they're even more stupid. But here he recognizes his need for God's wisdom.

So here we have a recognition for instruction. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter , verse 4, "therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Humility is a very important characteristic that we see repeated over and over again in the Bible. You know, that reminds me of a story. I think Pastor Doug mentioned it a few weeks ago. I want to mention it again - the story of the man who was so humble that the town decided to give him a medal.

Do you remember that story? And he wore his medal all around town so eventually they had to take it away from him because he wasn't humble anymore. He was bragging about the fact that he was the humblest man in town. Humility is one of those characteristics or character traits that you don't ever really recognize in yourself. The moment you start thinking of yourself as humble, it's probably evidence that you're not humble, but it is something that heaven recognizes. It's also something that can be recognized by others.

And so he does talk about needing wisdom. Verse 3 he says, "I neither learned wisdom, nor have knowledge of the holy one." He recognizes God's wisdom as being supreme. Isaiah chapter 55, verse 9 - it says, "for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." So God's wisdom is greater - far greater than our wisdom - and, yet, God is willing to share with us his wisdom. To know God is to know wisdom - to know truth - to have everlasting life. I'm reminded of the experience of job.

We read about all these terrible things that happened to him and then his three friends came and they began to say to him, 'you know, job, you must have committed some great sin and that's why all these bad things are happening to you.' 'God is judging you - or punishing you for something that you've done.' 'Come on, job, just confess. What is it that you've done?' And time and time again, job says, 'you know, I don't know. I can't think of anything.' Well, as time goes on, job begins to really feel the burden of what his friends are saying to him and just the terrible ordeal that he's going through. And finally job says, 'oh that I could appear before God - that I could, at least, defend myself - that I could present my case before God.' Well, after job speaks for a while, finally God responds to job. And I always find the response God gives to job very interesting.

God does not explain to job the situation and say, 'well, job, there was this meeting in heaven and lucifer showed up - and satan was there and he said - God said, 'where did you come from?' 'From walking back and forth on the earth' and so on. God doesn't get into the great controversy theme with job. Instead, God responds to job with these words - he says, "who is it that darkens counsel, speaking words without wisdom? Gird yourself up like a man. I will demand of you and you answer me if you can." - God's speaking to job. He says, "where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me now if you can.

Where were you when The Sons of God sang for joy?" And then God goes on to talk about his power and his glory and his creative ability and he goes through this whole list of describing different things in nature. Finally, by the time God gets through, job responds and this is what he has to say, he says, speaking to God, "I know that you can do everything and that there is no purpose of yours that can be withheld from you." And then job goes on to say, "I've heard about with you with my hearing, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I repent in dust and ashes." When job understood God's power and his creative ability, he began to put his troubles in perspective. When we understand how big God really is, our big problems don't seem that big anymore. When we understand God has all power - he can do all things - there is nothing impossible for God.

We can put our confidence in him even though we might not understand the circumstances that we find ourselves in. We can have confidence that God is able to take care of us and see us through. Now looking at verse 4 - Proverbs chapter 30 and verse 4. The question is asked, "who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment?" - It says, "who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?" Of course, a beautiful passage here. Notice the themes that I introduce.

First of all, the question is asked, 'who has ascended into heaven and come down from heaven?' Now, it's not saying that nobody has ever ascended up into heaven. We know there are individuals that have gone up to heaven, but they haven't gone up to heaven and come back down to reveal truth. Matter of fact, Jesus said, in John chapter 3, verse 13, in speaking to nicodemus Jesus said, 'no one has ascended up into heaven but he that has come down from heaven, that is The Son of man who is in heaven. So there were individuals that went to heaven. Can you think of some in the old testament? Who was the first person that was translated without seeing death? Enoch.

You have Enoch. And then there was somebody else - a great prophet of the old testament. Elijah. It was Elijah. And then we know of somebody, according to the book of Jude, who died and was buried, but he was resurrected and taken to heaven.

Who's that? Moses. That's Moses. And, of course, Moses appears with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration with Elijah. There is also a group of people that you read about in Matthew that were resurrected at the time of Christ's resurrection - Matthew chapter 27. It says that they appeared to many in the city and then we have no further reference to this group of people.

So you would think if they were around during the time of the book of acts, the early Christian church, you would have heard something about them. I always wonder who was in that group that was resurrected. Some of the great, you know, people that we read about in the old testament - maybe Daniel was part of that group. We don't know, but it appears that at the ascension of Christ, this group of people went with Jesus to heaven as firstfruits. So the point being made here is no one has ascended up into heaven to receive truth from God and then has come back in person to deliver that truth.

Even in the old testament tmes, who was the one that revealed himself in the cloud and the pillar of fire? Was that the father or was that The Son? The Son. According to the apostle Paul, it was Christ who led Israel during their wilderness wanderings. So even before the incarnation, Jesus is come down from heaven to guide his people - to reveal truth to his people here on the earth. Now there's a few other things mentioned there in verse 4 that we need to mention. It says, 'who is the one that gathers the wind in his fists?' When I read that, I couldn't help think of Revelation chapter 7.

In Revelation 7 there is the description of four angels holding back the four winds of strife. In Bible prophecy, winds often represent turmoil and commotion and calamity. So God is the one that holds turmoil, or calamity, at bay. He holds it in his fists. The next part is who has bowed the waters in a garment? Again, in Bible prophecy, what does water represent? Revelation chapter 17.

It represents multitudes and nations and kindreds and tongues. God is the one who has created all things. It says, 'who has established the ends of the earth?' That, of course, is the creator. 'What is his name? What is his son's name?' Isn't that interesting? Here we have a reference to Jesus and Jesus is associated with the creator. Now, of course, you see that same theme if you go over to John chapter one and we'll take a look at that here in just a few moments.

Alright, looking at verse 5 - one of my favorite verses. It says, "every Word of God is pure;" - and - "he is a shield to those who put their trust in him." Now this is the only place that you find, in the book of Proverbs, the word here in the Hebrew - translated word in english. You'll only find this particular word here in Proverbs chapter 30 and it is closely linked with psalm 119, verse 140, where it says, "Your Word is very pure; therefore your servant loves it." So trusting in God's Word provides spiritual strength. There is power in the word of God. Now, to illustrate the power of the Word of God, I'd like to go to one of my favorite stories in the new testament.

You'll find in Matthew chapter , it's the story of a centurion who had a servant that was very sick. Do you remember the story? So he came to Jesus and here was this man coming to Jesus and he says, 'my servant is very sick.' And Jesus said, 'alright, I'll come and heal him.' But the centurion responded to Christ and said, 'Lord, I am not worthy that you should come to my house. But only speak the word and my servant will be healed.' Now, when Jesus heard that, the Bible says he marveled and he said to those who were with him, the jews, 'I have not seen so great a faith; no, not in Israel.' Now what's interesting about what the centurion said? 'Lord, I'm not worthy to come to my house but, please, just speak the word. The centurion placed his confidence in the power of the word of Christ. So the Word of God has power.

The question is asked, 'well, how is it that the Word of God has power? I think we find an answer to that in Genesis chapter 1, in the creation story, where God created the earth and the earth was without form and void; darkness upon the face of the deep. It says the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters and then God said, 'let there be light.' So when God said, 'let there be light,' the spirit of God made the light. In other words, the power of the Word of God is the Spirit of God. So whatever Jesus says, whatever God says, the Spirit always does. That's why, over here in Proverbs chapter 30, it says, "he is a shield to those who put their trust in him.

" - In His Word. In his promises. And then verse 6 - it says, "do not add to His Words, lest he rebuke you, and you be found a liar." It's kind of interesting to note that Moses said a similar thing in Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse , that we are not to add to the Word of God, neither are we to take away from the Word of God. So Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, gave this warning. You also find this warning in the last book of the Bible.

Matter of fact, the very last chapter of the last book, Revelation chapter 22, where John, who wrote Revelation, said if you add anything to His Word, God will add the plagues written in the book. If you take anything away, God will remove your name out of the book of life. So here we have this warning at the very beginning of the Bible - don't add to God's Word. Don't take away from it - we have it at the very end of the Bible and now we have it here in the middle of the Bible in Proverbs. Don't add to His Words.

Don't take away from His Words. Something else interesting about that is the Bible tells us 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is to be established. There is also a principle that we see in Scripture: the law and the testimony - or the law and the prophets. To the jew, the old testament, which was the Scriptures that they had, was divided into two parts. The first five books, written by Moses, was considered the law, and everything else was considered the prophets or the testimony.

And in order to have something established, you had to have a witness in the law and the prophets, or the law and the testimony. So here we have a witness in the law, written by Moses in Deuteronomy, and we have a witness in the prophets, both here in Proverbs and then also by the prophet John, to reaffirm and establish the fact that God's Word is pure. It is powerful. We are not to try and add to his word, nor are we to try and take away from His Word. We want to accept God's Word just the way it is given.

Well, I think we're about ready now to go to our next section, so if you want to get set up for that, it's going to be Proverbs chapter 30 and we'll be reading here verse 7 through to verse 9 and in this passage you'll notice two requests that agur has in his prayer - two prayer requests of the author of this passage. So let's take a look now at verse 7 - Proverbs 30, verse 7. "Two things I request of you (deprive me not before I die): remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches - feed me with the food allotted me; lest I be full and deny you, and say, 'who is the Lord?' Or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God." Alright, well thank you very much. So what are the two prayer requests of agur? What is he asking for? Number one: he's asking that God will provide what he needs but not give him too much - sort of a balance there. First of all, he's asking for true understanding for himself.

He says, 'remove falsehood and lies from me.' I was reminded of psalm 119, verse 18 where we read, "open my eyes that I might see." It begins with having a true perspective or a true understanding of who we are and our need of Jesus. That's where conversion begins, when we understand our great need - when we understand what is provided by Jesus, that humbles our heart and that's the beginning point. Paul also says that we need to learn how to be sufficient in all circumstances. In Philippians chapter 4, verse Paul says, "...i have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." And then Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 8, "and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." So we need to trust in what God has given us. Be grateful with his - for his blessings.

Proverbs 30, verse 9 says, "lest I be full and deny you, and say, 'who is the Lord?' Or lest I be poor and steal..." There is a danger in having wealth. The danger is that over abundance creates a feeling of, sort of, independence from God. We don't realize our need of God. It's often when I travel, especially to third world countries and we go out into the rural areas and the farmlands, there is a keen sense amongst the farmers of their dependence on God. If the rain doesn't come, the crops don't grow.

The animals have nothing to eat. You know, we live in the city and we go to the store and right now we're in a terrible drought here in California, but for most people it's not impacting them that directly. But for those who are dependent upon their little garden to provide their food for the upcoming season or winter, having the rain is very important. They recognize their dependence on God and that's what's being emphasized here. Never get to the point where we are so satisfied with what we have that we neglect realizing God is the source of all of these blessings.

We want to trust him. At the same time, there is a warning not to - or there is a request here not to be so poor that we get angry towards God or we have a lack of faith towards God in providing our needs. Luke chapter 18, verse 9 - we find the parable there of the pharisee and the tax collector. Actually, this passage was referred to in our lesson, so if you have your Bibles, let's just turn to it. You'll find in Luke chapter 18, verse 9 - I think this is a fairly well-known passage talking about having a humble heart and recognizing our need of God.

So Luke chapter 18, beginning here in verse 9. It says, "also he spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:" it's kind of interesting how that those who trust in themselves to be righteous, almost by default, despise others because they are comparing themselves with others and think, 'well, I don't do what he does. I must be a much better person.' Jesus, specifically, is addressing this. Verse 10, "two men" - he said - "went up to the temple to pray, one a pharisee and the other a tax collector." - Despised by the people - verse : "the pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself," - was God listening to his prayer? He was praying to himself. He said, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

" - As he looks over at the tax collector there in the corner - he says, "I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess." - But verse 13 says, "and the tax collector, standing afar off" - why 'standing afar off?' Because he didn't feel worthy to enter into the presence of God. He recognized his need. He's standing at a distance - "would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven," - didn't feel worthy - "but beat upon his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'" - He saw his need. Here's the promise - verse 14 - "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified" - Jesus said - "rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." What a wonderful promise that is - that if we humble ourselves before God he will lift us up. Well, now looking in verse 10 - Proverbs chapter 30, verse 10, we have a slight change of themes here.

The idea is not to speak evil of another. Verse 10 says, "do not malign a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be found guilty." Now the word 'malign' there means 'to injure another by speaking ill of that person or to misrepresent the facts to another's hurt.' So here the warning is don't speak evil of another person. Of course, James chapter 3, verse 5 says, "even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!" You know, I was reminded the of the story of Moses when I read this. Don't speak evil of another man's servant.

Do you remember how Moses was walking amongst the Israelites and he saw an Egyptian beating the Israelite and Moses jumped to the defense of the Israelite and he ended up killing the Egyptian and burying him there in the sand and he thought, 'well, I'm doing something good, you know, for the Israelites. The next day he's walking along and he sees two Israelites fighting and he says, 'what are you doing? You're brethren - you shouldn't be fighting.' And one of them turned to Moses and said, 'are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday? So here Moses is thinking that he's doing a good thing to help the servant, only to realize that the servant turned against him. That's the warning here in the word. Be careful with what you say. Don't try and bring a negative report about somebody.

Just leave it in the Lord's hands. Alright, somebody else is going to read for us now Proverbs chapter 30 and we're going to look from verse 11 through to verse 14 and we have four characteristics here of a wicked generation. You'll see the parallels in our time. So Proverbs chapter 30, beginning now in verse 11. "There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.

There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation-oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men." Okay, so we have four characteristics of a very Godless generation. The first one mentioned in verse 11, they curse their parents - he curses his father. Back in Bible times, disloyalty to parents was a sin that was deserving of death.

It was a big deal to dishonor your parents. Of course, this is one of the characteristics that Paul says will be prevalent in the final generation before Jesus comes. In 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1 and 2, Paul writes, "but know this, that in the last days" - of course, we're living in the last days - "perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves," - do people love themselves today? It says they will love money. Does the world love money? They'll be "boasters, proud, blasphemers," - and then it says, "disobedient to parents," - now that's kind of an important thing for us to think about. The Bible emphasizes the importance of showing respect and honor to our parents and to the elderly.

Of course, it's one of the ten commandments. Now, when you think about the Ten Commandments, the ten commandments are written on how many tables of stone? Two. Two. How many commandments are written on the first table? Four. Four.

What do those first four commandments deal with? Our relationship to God. Our relationship to God. It defines our relationship to God. Of course, the last six have to do with our relationship to our fellow man. Now here's the point: in the ten commandments, even though all of the commandments are very important and sin is the transgression of the law, breaking any of the commandments is sin, yet the commandments are given in order of importance.

For example, 'thou shalt not kill' precedes 'thou shalt not bear false witness.' Not that it's okay to bear false witness, but there is a difference between murder and telling a lie. So the commandments are written in order. The first four-the most important-have to do with our relationship with God-that's first and foremost. The last six have to do with our relationship to our fellow man. What I find interesting is that the first of those last six commandments is 'honor your mother and your father.

' It even precedes the commandment that says 'thou shalt not kill.' In other words, that's the value that God has placed upon that commandment. And here's the point: if we can't respect or honor our earthly parents, or the elderly, how are we going to honor our Heavenly Father - our creator? So a very important lesson there and that's the first thing mentioned of a wicked generation - the children are disobedient to their parents. Verse 12 talks about another characteristic of this generation, it says they are pure in their own eyes. In Revelation chapter 3 we have Jesus' message to the church of laodicea. Laodicea is the church of today-the church at the end-and one of the great sins of laodicea is that she says she is rich, she has become wealthy, she has need of nothing and she doesn't know that she is wretched, miserable, poor, blind - she can't even see her true condition - and naked.

So in the world, and even in the church, there is a tendency for us to be pure in our own eyes and that's where we need to pray and say, 'Lord, give me that spiritual discernment. Give me that eye salve that I can see my true condition.' And when we see our true condition in relationship to Jesus and his grace and his love, it leads us to a humble heart - a spirit of repentance- saying, 'Lord please I need you. I need you.' The next thing that's mentioned here in verse , it says, "oh how lofty are their eyes!" Proverbs chapter 21, verse 4 says, "a haughty look, a proud heart," - speaking of looking down upon others. A tendency of society today is to look down on others and then verse 14 talks about devouring the poor of the earth. Do we live in a generation today that is motivated by greed? Love of money? Absolutely.

This past week I read an article in forbes magazine and they had this interesting statistic. It said the combined wealth of .5 billion of the world's poorest is equal to the combined wealth of 85 of the richest people in the world. .5 billion - their combined wealth is equal to only 85 of the richest people in the world. So we can see how the rich are getting richer and richer and the poor are getting poorer and poorer. Timothy chapter 6, verse 9, it says, "but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

" Verse 10 says, "for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." I'm sure you remember the story of the rich young ruler that came to Jesus and said, 'what must I do to be saved?' Jesus answered and said, 'go sell everything you have, give it to the poor, come follow me - you'll have riches in heaven.' The Bible says the man went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. He couldn't imagine his life without his things, even though Jesus was offering to be his companion - 'come follow me. Be with me.' - He still valued his possessions more. And then you have just the opposite: Jesus goes into Jericho and there is a short tax collector by the name of zacchaeus who hears about Jesus, he sees Jesus, he climbs down out of the tree and he says, 'Lord, half of what I have I'm going to give to the poor. And if I've taken anything falsely, I will restore it fourfold.

' So if zacchaeus gave away half of what he had and then everything that he had taken wrongly he restored fourfold, that would leave him with almost nothing. In other words he said, 'Lord, I value your presence far more than earthly possessions and Jesus said, 'today salvation has come to this man's house.' So Proverbs 30 is warning us of the danger of putting confidence in earthly things. Alright, we're ready for our next section then - it's verses and 16 and here we find four things that can never be satisfied. So Proverbs 30, verse 15. "The leech has two daughters - give and give! There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, 'enough!:' The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water - and the fire never says, 'enough!'" So four things that are never satisfied - and notice it's described as a leech.

Back in Bible times, in palestine, there was a leech that I guess was fairly well known. It was called a horse leech - at least that's the translation - it was a large leech that was common in palestine and it was known for its ferocious appetite for blood. So here we have a description of four things that are never satisfied and it's described as a leech. Now what are the four things? Well, verse 16 talks about the grave. First of all, the question I have is, will the grave one day be satisfied? Yes.

It's at the resurrection when Jesus comes again and the dead in Christ are resurrected. The barren womb - those who want to have children - they've never been able to have children. Will those mothers who want children, will they ever have children? Yes, quite possibly in heaven they'll have the opportunity to raise - maybe not their own biological children - but they'll get to raise a child in heaven. Those in the resurrection who do not have children there - very likely they'll have an opportunity to raise children. The earth not satisfied with water and then it talks about the poor.

Will there be a day when there will be no poor? Yes, when the earth is made new, but until then, Jesus said, 'for you have the poor with you always and whenever you wish, you can do them good. But me you do not have with you always.' And yet Jesus said 'when you do it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.' So when we minister to the needs of the poor - those around us - we're doing it to Jesus. And then looking at verse 17 -Proverbs chapter 30, verse 17. It says, "the eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it." Again, very descriptive passages speaking once again of the disobedient or those who dishonor their parents, it says the ravens are going to pluck out their eyes. Now those who obey the commandment to honor your mother and your father, the promise is that they will have a long life - God'll bless them.

But those who are disobedient to their parents, this verse speaks of them suffering a violent death. It also talks about the eagles and vultures. In the Bible, eagles and vultures are often used in association with judgment and in the context of the destruction of the wicked at the end of time. In Luke chapter 17, verse 37 it says, "...wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." It's talking about the death of the wicked at the end of time. You also find the same thing in Revelation chapter 19, verse 17, that speaks about the second coming of Christ and the wicked are destroyed at the brightness of his coming.

It talks about the eagles symbolically gathering together for this great feast - the destruction of the wicked. Now we move to our next section where we have four things that are hard to be known. And this is Proverbs 30, verse 18 through verse 20 -Proverbs 30:18-20. "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a virgin. This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, 'I have done no wickedness.

'" Okay, thank you. So here we see four things that the wise man gives as things that we can't fully understand. First he talks about an eagle flying, a serpent moving on a rock, a ship on the sea, and a young man with a young woman. We'll talk about all of these here in just a minute. What does an eagle flying, a snake on a rock, a boat or a ship in the sea have in common? Well, when an eagle's flying and you look up and you see it in the air, you're not sure what direction the eagle is going in because it can drop a wing and turn to the right or suddenly turn to the left.

When you see a snake moving on the rock, you're not quite sure if it's going to end up going that way or this way. I remember, as a young person, we were out hiking one day along with a group of friends and we were walking alongside a river. Some of the guys were actually in the river swimming and came across this big snake warming itself there on a flat rock and, at first, the snake didn't seem to notice us, but then suddenly it realized 'there's people gathered around me.' And he took off in one direction and some of the guys made a noise and jumped around and suddenly he turned and took off in another direction and then he stopped and he turned another way and he went down into the water. Some of the guys were swimming in the river and the snake started coming straight for them and they dove down and the snake went over their heads. So the idea of a snake moving on a rock - it's unpredictable.

You don't know exactly where it's going to end up and go. Also, of course, an eagle in the Bible represents power and grandeur, whereas a serpent represents deception and danger. And then you also have a ship at sea. It's fascinating to see a ship - these old sailing boats - sometimes it seems as though they're actually sailing right into the wind and if you see a ship at sea moving amongst the waves, again, it's hard to know if it's going to be moving towards you or away from you or to the left or to the right. The destination is not clearly seen and that's kind of the point that's been emphasized.

And then it talks about a young man here with a young maiden or a virgin. It's kind of interesting to notice - I have teenage boys now and for so long they didn't care about their appearance or the way their hair looked or whether or not their clothes matched, but now, as they've reached the teenage years, it's kind of interesting how suddenly they're concerned about their appearance. They want to make sure that their hair is combed just right and, believe it or not, their clothes are actually matching. I said to my wife the other day, I said, 'I can't believe it.' I look at one of the boys - his hat matched his shirt, matched his pants - even his socks matched. I was amazed.

You know, we used to have to remind them to take a shower. We don't have to do that anymore. They make sure that they're presentable. Why? Especially in the company of young ladies. So I think that's what's being referred to here is some of the interesting behavior when a young man is trying to impress a young woman.

Alright, then verse 20 talks about an adulterous woman. In the Bible, what does a woman often represent? The church. It represents the church. Of course, in Revelation chapter you have a pure woman representing the true church. In Revelation 17 you have an impure woman.

And then it talks about - it says she eats and wipes her mouth -Revelation chapter 17 describes this woman, her name is Babylon. It says she has a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Revelation 18:7 - Babylon says, "...i sit as a queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow." So this idea here is of a church that is claiming to be true but she has left the truths of God's Word and yet she says, 'I have done no wickedness' - even though she is going contrary to the Word of God and she's setting aside God's commandments to keep her own traditions. She's saying, 'I have done nothing wrong.' Now we move onto the next section - it's verse 21 through to verse 23 and there are four things that cause trouble that the wise man is referring to here. So who's got Proverbs chapter :21-23? Thank you.

For three things the earth is perturbed, yes, for four it cannot bear up: for a servant when he reigns, a fool when he is filled with food, a hateful woman when she is married, and a maidservant who succeeds her mistress." Okay, another four interesting things mentioned here that it says the world is perturbed with. First is a servant when he reigns. Have you ever been around little children and everybody's playing nicely and seem to be getting along as long as the adult is supervising, but if you put one of the little kids in charge of all the other kids, do you notice how things sometimes go astray? I think that's kind of the point that's being emphasized here - putting a person in a position of authority when they're not actually prepared to handle that kind of authority. That's a servant when he reigns. Then it talks about a fool when he's filled with food.

When a person is satisfied and has everything that he needs, especially a fool here in the context, he begins to mock God and mock others who don't have what he has and that's what's being described there. Then it talks about a hateful woman when she's married. Here in the context, this is somebody that hadn't been married for a long time, somewhat, perhaps felt rejected and then finally she is married. Now she looks down on others who were in her situation. That's what's being referred to there.

And then a maidservant who succeeds her mistress - you all remember the story of Sarah and hagar? How that she was content to be Sarah - hagar was content to be Sarah's maid until finally she was promoted and she became a second wife of Abraham and then she conceived and had a son and suddenly she despised Sarah. That's what's being referred to there. In other words, giving somebody authority or position that they are not prepared for. Okay, now we're going to be looking in verse 24 - four things exceedingly wise in the earth. So Proverbs chapter 30, beginning now in verse 24.

There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags; the locusts have no king, yet the all advance in ranks; the spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in Kings' palaces." Okay, thank you. So we can learn some very important lessons from four creatures listed in this passage: you've got the ant, you've got the rock badger, you've got locusts, and then you have the spider. Now we'll talk about the spider when we get there, there's divided opinion as to whether or not that is the spider or more of a gecko lizard-type creature, but we'll get to that in a minute. So what are some of the lessons that we can learn beginning here with ants? I think the biggest lesson that's been emphasized is ants have a characteristic of preparing for the future. They're hard working and industrious.

Proverbs chapter 6, verse 6 says, "go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest." So the big lesson emphasized with ants is they prepare for the future. A couple of Amazing Facts about ants: ants are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight. Certain ant species defend plants in exchange for food and shelter. Some ants actually shepherd other insects like aphids. They protect them, they feed them, and then they harvest from these animals.

And the total biomass of all of the ants on earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on earth. So there's a lot of ants and they're doing important work. The big lesson here is that ants work hard and they prepare for the future. Then we have a rock badger. Now probably in different countries they have different names for these little creatures that live out in the rocks and crevices.

The point here, perhaps, that's being emphasized is that there is a certain degree of watchfulness or planning. Rock badgers are known to have a sentinel stand guard and look out for danger, so there's always somebody standing, watching for danger and that's what probably is being emphasized here is being wise and watching for danger. Then, of course, we have locusts and they're referred to several times in Scripture. They have no leader and yet they move as a well-trained army. Matter of fact, in Revelation chapter 9, locusts are used to symbolize an invading force that comes against a certain group of people.

So the point being emphasized with locusts is order - they are organized - well organized and they're effective in what they do. Then we have verse 28 talking about a spider. And here's tHis Word that's only used in this place in all of Scripture and so there's somewhat of a divided opinion as to exactly what this creature is. Is it a spider or is it more like a lizard, kind of, gecko type of animal? But either way I think the point is clear that there is a tremendous degree of persistence. Have you tried to remove all the spiders from your house and they just seem to come back? Even if you - you live in some tropical areas, you have these little geckos that somehow get into your house.

You see them walking on the roof with their big, cute little fingers and walking around. They're just very persistent. You can't get rid of them. They keep coming back. That's the point that's being emphasized here is persistence.

So from these animals, the lesson here is hard work, planning, order, and persistence - some important characteristics that we need to bear in mind. Alright, looking now at verses 29 through 31, four things that are stately. There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: a lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; a greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up." Thank you. So here we see four things that are majestic. First of all, of course, is the lion.

We know the lion is a symbol of power and majesty. In the Bible Jesus is described as a lion. It's connected with his Kingship and rulership - the lion of the tribe of judah. It's also interesting to note that in the Bible, not only is Jesus described as a lion, but you know the devil is described as a lion and he's 'going around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.' Another interesting symbol is - not only is the serpent used to symbolize satan, but there is a reference where the serpent lifted up on the pole - you remember the story in the old testament? - Represents Jesus taking upon himself our sins - 'becoming sin for us; bearing the curse on our behalf.' So there are some interesting - oh, another one, in the Bible Christ is described - his coming is described as lightning flashing from the east to the west. Jesus said, concerning satan, 'I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven.

' So there are some interesting symbols that are used for both Christ and satan. The lion here, of course, is power and glory and majesty. The next animal mentioned is a greyhound. What do you think of when you think of a greyhound? You think of speed and so the idea of a greyhound with speed - you know greyhounds, they have this sort of, majestic look to them - the way they hold their nose up and the way they sit-they're beautiful animals. And then, this is kind of an interesting one, he says a goat for a majestic animal.

At first I scratched my head. I thought, 'a goat?' You wouldn't think of a goat as being majestic. Have you guys ever seen those nature documentaries of the mountain goats and the way they run on those steep cliffs? That is majestic. When you see one of those mountain goats standing on the edge of this cliff and he has nothing to fear and then they're fighting with each other and they're banging horns and they're on the side of the mountain, that is spectacular. And then, of course, the next one is a king going out with his soldiers looking majestic and powerful going into battle.

That, of course, is also a reference to the second coming of Jesus. Revelation chapter 19 - Jesus is described as coming king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He's riding on a white horse. He has many crowns upon his head and he has the name written on his thigh, 'king of Kings and Lord of Lords.' Oh, by the way, why is this name 'king of Kings and Lord of Lords' written on Christ's thigh? Have you ever noticed that before? A couple things: first of all, the thigh is the biggest muscle in the body. It's a symbol of strength.

It is a symbol of power. So that's what's emphasized when he's coming as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He's coming with power and majesty and strength. There is another thing that the thigh represents. You probably remember the old testament stories that in the time of Abraham and also in the time of Jacob, when you made a solid oath, you would slide your hand under the person's thigh.

I'm sure glad we don't do that nowadays, we just shake hands and we're done. But that was a sign of a solemn oath. Christ has made an oath to us - he's made a promise. He said, 'I will come again and receive you unto myself.' Revelation chapter 19 describes Jesus coming, fulfilling his promise as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. And then, finally, the last two verses that we have here - I'll just read it - verses 32 and 33 - it says, "if you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.

" - In other words, stop speaking; don't just keep going. You know, sometimes we find ourselves saying something and the Holy Spirit will convict us and we think to ourself, 'we probably shouldn't be saying this, but we've gone so far we might as well at least finish the story.' A wise man says if you catch yourself halfway, stop speaking - put your hand on your mouth. You can stop it right there. Verse 33 - it says, "for as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife." So as the Christian, we don't want to pursue strife. We don't want to stir up trouble, especially amongst the brethren.

We want to be kind and Christ-like in the way that we react with one another. In closing, I want to just share here. On Friday we had a quote from the book Desire of Ages, which I thinks helps summarize what we looked at in this chapter. It says, "Christ's words to the people on the mount" - speaking of the mount of blessings - "were words of blessing. 'Happy are they' he said 'who recognize their spiritual poverty and feel their need of redemption.

The Gospel is going to be preached to the poor, not to the Spiritually proud - those who claim to be rich and in need of nothing - "it is revealed but to those who are of a humble and a contrite heart. the Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until convinced of his own weakness and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From that soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld." - That's a wonderful promise - "he has unrestricted access to him in whom is all the fullness." That's the promise. So when we recognize our need and we humble our hearts before Jesus, then he can lift us up and we can be filled with his glory.

Again, I'd like to remind those watching of our free offer this evening. It's called the high cost of the cross. To receive our book, just call our resource number. It's 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #156. We'll be happy to send that to you.

Well, friends, we're out of time for our study. We have one more lesson on the book of Proverbs, so please be sure to come back and join us as we wrap up our study on our lesson quarterly in Proverbs. Let's close with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, once again we thank you for the opportunity to spend some time looking at some practical counsel for everyday living. Father, it is our desire to have a humble heart.

We know that it is you that gives us the correct perspective of who we are in relationship to you and that brings about a humbling of our hearts so that you can fill us with your spirit and lift us up. Thank you for your promise to work within us as we trust in you. Bless those who are watching and we thank you, father, for hearing our prayer. In Jesus' Name, amen. Thank you again, everybody.

Have a wonderful evening. Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church - catholic church in manilla - and before a big cross and I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself, and also my family. And I said, 'Lord, I would like to follow you all the way.' At that point I seemed to be happy, externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible - we don't study about the Word of God, we pray the rosaries. We also, at the same time, study the lives of the saints and also our founders and the encyclicals of the pope, and the virgin mary. And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience - the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved.

So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box saying, 'father, forgive me. Since my last confession was last week - since then I have committed the following sin including the root cause, 'why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again?' And still, for 21 long years I struggle and I struggle and I struggle. I realized that I was totally empty. I was totally helpless and hopeless and so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life. I was working for five years as dean of the university of saint Augustine college of nursing in iloilo city, one of the islands of the Philippines.

After five years I received my commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to the United States. It is because my sister needs my help. As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss, seraphim, he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the 'millennium of prophecy'. As I was listening to pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast and my mind - I am able to grasp the truth that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life - that I have been seeking for so long.

My personal relationship with Jesus - I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world, but he is my personal Savior. He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin - from the mirey clay. Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts - I owe to them.

the Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this 'millennium of prophecy'. My life has never been the same. It has given me that peace - that joy that never - I have never tasted in my life. Now I am set free to be able to work for him and to follow him. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo.

From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, Biblehistory.com is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit Biblehistory.com.

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