Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom

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I am weary, O God; 
I am weary and worn out, O God. 
I am too stupid to be human, 
and I lack common sense. 
I have not mastered human wisdom, 
nor do I know the Holy One. 

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? 
Who holds the wind in his fists? 
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? 
Who has created the whole wide world? 
What is his name—and his son’s name? 
Tell me if you know! 

Every word of God proves true. 
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. 
Do not add to his words, 
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar. 
(Proverbs 30:1-6, New Living Translation)

I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom. 

And yet…as I read these first lines of chapter thirty, the mere beginning of the “sayings of Agur,” I had to chuckle. How fitting this journey should near its end with a confession of “stupidity” and a lack of common sense! For while I have felt some growth in understanding wisdom, as I look at my life, I’m not sure if I’ve yet become any wiser. Yes, Agur, I must agree—I have not mastered wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.

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I am grateful for Agur’s example here. Ironically, there is wisdom in his confession that he lacks a mastery of human wisdom. For he realizes that for all his effort (he is ‘weary and worn out’, v. 1), he has just begun. He has made it to the top of what he thought was the summit, only to discover it was merely one peak in a vast mountain range of wisdom yet to be explored. And as he stands there, he rightly reflects on the One who holds all wisdom. “He acknowledges the limits of human understanding and humbly confesses that only God is truly wise [even as he challenges us all] to admit that no one has achieved direct understanding of the world and the truth behind the world” (Garrett). No one, that is, save the Holy One.

For it is God, and God alone, who has gone up to heaven and come down.
God holds the wind in his fists.
God wraps the oceans in his cloaks.
God has created the whole wide world.
Yahweh is his name, and Jesus, his Son.

I stand before this God, and his Son, with my hand over my mouth, and easily, freely admit that no words in this 31 day journey of simple articles are worth staking one’s life on. It is every word of God that proves true, not mine, nor any man’s. He is the One who is a shield to all who come to him. And part of that shielding is found in his revelation having been proven true in the real world of human experience. Proverbs has been tested, tried, and passed the test. There IS wisdom here.

So it is not mine nor Agur’s objective to add to God’s words. Rather, the hope has been to declare God’s words, and in the declaration, to give the sense of them so that people may understand and apply them (Nehemiah 8:8).

It is my prayer that the coming end of this series will not be the end of your exploration of wisdom, and thus the pursuit of a good life. I know it will not be for me. This has been merely the beginning. We stand with Agur at merely the first peak, with the glorious vista of a mountain range of wisdom yet to be discovered and lived!

Father,

Thank you for the adventure of living as your sons and daughters in your ever-expanding kingdom. There is so much to learn, explore, discover, and achieve. Sometimes, on the weary days, that looks more overwhelming than exciting. But help us to remember we have your Spirit as our helper and guide on the journey! With him, we shall renew our strength, mount up with wings as eagels, run and not be weary, walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). May we take up your great guidebook, your Holy Word, and set out with the Spirit’s help, to pursue a wise and good life. For your glory, and our joy. 

Yes, and very amen, in Jesus’ name.

Pursuing the wise and good life with you,

Pastor Matthew
matthew@calvarystcloud.org

P.S. If you’d like to study some of the wisdom literature further, I highly recommend the Wisdom Series from The Bible Project, and their resources on the book of Proverbs.


Proverbs Thirty-One Day Reading Plan

August 14: Proverbs ch. 1

Aug. 15: ch. 2

Aug. 16: ch. 3

Aug. 17: ch. 4

Aug. 18: ch. 5

Aug. 19: Grace Day

Aug. 20: ch. 6

Aug. 21: ch. 7

Aug. 22: ch. 8

Aug. 23: ch. 9

Aug. 24: ch. 10

Aug. 25: ch. 11

Aug. 26: Grace Day

Aug. 27: ch. 12

Aug. 28: ch. 13

Aug. 29: ch. 14

Aug. 30: ch. 15

Aug. 31: ch. 16

Sept. 1: ch. 17

Sept. 2: Grace Day

Sept. 3: ch. 18

Sept. 4: ch. 19

Sept. 5: ch. 20

Sept. 6: ch. 21

Sept. 7: ch. 22

Sept. 8: ch. 23

Sept. 9: Grace Day

Sept. 10: ch. 24

Sept. 11: ch. 25

Sept. 12: ch. 26

Sept. 13: ch. 27

Sept. 14: ch. 28

Sept. 15: ch. 29

Sept. 16: Grace Day

Sept. 17: ch. 30

Sept. 18: ch. 31

Day Thirty-One: A Mother’s Wisdom

31 Proverbs: Grace Day for Sunday 16 September

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