There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:18-19
In today's proverb of the day, I want to expound on what the Bible teaches is the perfect way to understand a woman. This is especially the case when a guy is trying to woo the woman to be his. There are a set of inescaptable rules and things you have to do - and if you do them - you will win any woman you approach. Those who have not yet detected the dripping sarcasm in this first statement on today's proverb - I need to let you in on the fact that I am not using dripping sarcasm - I am using sarcasm that is running like the Mississippi River at full flood stage. Any man who has gained any wisdom on the topic of women and how to understand them perfectly knows that such a body of information does not exist. If it did - and the women of our world learned of its existence, they would immediately change their behavior in such a way as to make the author of that book truly look ridiculous.
Today's proverb uses a common Hebraism of relating a series of things together that have a common thread. It was common to have people speak of three things that had common elements - and use them to relate to the fourth, which is the true focus of the proverb. Here, we see that the true focus of this proverb is that of a man with a maid. What the writer is telling us is that the way of love between a man and a woman is something that at some level will have to be left as a mystery. The typical, "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" mentality that overflows from our societies' bookshelves, will break down eventually. Regardless of the number of degrees held by a psychologist or psychiatrist, no one knows everything there is to know about relationships between men and women.
God tells us through this writer that there are three things on earth which were wonderful to him - and even four which he does not understand. The science of our day would proudly announce that they have solved these mysteries by explaining the flight of the eagle by a sophisticaled grasp of Bernoulli's Prinicple. They would equally pride themselves on an understanding of neuromuscular and skeletal activity to explain to us ignorant pleebs the way of a snake on a rock. They might laugh at our utter simplicity and stupidity by explaining to us the principle of water displacement that allows such a heavy ship to float in the middle of the sea - and would enlighten us as to how to harness the power of the wind and sails to propel the ship through water.
I am very grateful for the things that investigation and the disciplines of science have helped us to understand. But for all the wonderful discoveries that I do enjoy - the one thing I have come to despise is the arrogance of scientists who seem to think that the whole concept of wonder either doesn't exist any longer. Or they feel that those who express poetic wonder, as the writer of proverbs does here, are simpletons. That I've grown to hate - because a world without wonder, awe, and mystery is a world that overflows with the overbearing pride of fools who no longer realize that though they were to pursue it for a trillion lifetimes - they will never fully grasp all that there is to understand about the universe. Honestly - it is not just the universe they will misunderstand - but the joy of life itself - which they will want to reduce down to a formula or two.
The eagle flies on the wind - and can rise and fall with it for hours having never to flap its wings. Its ability to do this while staring at the sun (with special eyelid covers which keep it from going blind) ultimately is a wonder and a mystery to me. The way of a serpent on a rock - its seemingly safe and sedate look - which can instantly turn deadly in a moment. The fact that something so deadly - cannot survive without heat - and how it draws it from the rock as it bakes in the sun one moment - and the next the snake hides in its shade to avoid being dehydrated and burned to a crisp is wonderful to me. To see a massive boat - even those in our day that are made of mutiple thousands of tons of steel (which doesn't have the capacity to float on its own) sit in the ocean, bobbing up and down in the water which would sink it within minutes were the hull to be pierced - is still amazing to me. And all these principles that men have discovered and proudly named after themselves - who designed the world so that these things would be true? Ah, to have mystery is to still live in a world of color and astonishment.
Now to the way of a man with a maid. I've discipled enough young men and women to know that this is something I'll never fully grasp. How the most logical young man I've ever known can pretty much lose his mind and all of his logic because of a young woman who captures him with a single glance from her eyes - yeah, there's a formula for that! Love is something science has tried to quantify - even measuring pheremones and electro-magnetic impulses - but has failed miserably in trying to do so. These things are for the most part unexplainable - and wonderful. There is wisdom that will guide us in them - but not to the point of missing the creativity and glory of God in the process. There are principles that we should follow in pursuing a young lady - and others that the young lady is wise in maintaining as she runs just long enough and slow enough for the young man in pursuit to catch her (but not until he wins her and commits to her for life). The thing is that in the midst of the principles - in the midst of the pursuit - we don't ever need to lose the wonder and joy of a blush - of a heart that is ready to explode from emotion - or of a heart-sickness in having to be away from the one we love. To lose those things would be to lose our humanity. A wise man knows that losing that means losing something that mere science can never replace. God meant for some things to simply inspire wonder, awe, amazement - and honestly - a sense of God and His glory in this world.
The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: Proverbs 30:1
Here we have an interesting verse in Proverbs. It is generally accepted that this person named Agur was an actual man - and that his students, Ithiel and Ucal were also real as well. Thus this is probably part of the collection of wisdom that Solomon had. He was probably greatly impressed by this collection of wise sayings and incorporated it into his own collection as well.
What do we know of these three men. Well, beyond the meaning of their names and this particular collection of sayings - nothing. Yet God used them to offer to us an entire chapter of Agur's wise sayings. In fact, Agur is called, "the oracle," which means that Solomon considered him a prophet - or at least a man inspired by God to put these sayings from Him into a list of sorts. Let's take a closer look at their names and what they mean.
Agur means collector or gatherer. This name probably designates that he was a collector of wise sayings - but the "son of Jakeh" refers to his father. Jakeh means to be on one's guard - and this particularly before God Himself. Thus the idea here is that of piety - guarding ourselves before God - and guarding others so that they walk in godliness. Thus, when we grasp Agur's full name - he would be considered to be the gatherer, the son of the man who guarded piety - who desired to walk in holiness and purity before God. If a name meant anything - and in Hebrew culture it did - then this was quite a man God used to collect these sayings from God and then declare them as an oracle from God Himself.
Not only did this man offer these wise sayings as much needed wisdom - he took the time to state them to others. Ithiel and Ucal were Agur's students. Ithiel means, "with me is God" while Ucal means "to eat or to devour." These are quite the names of his students. Evidently his students wanted the presence of God in their lives - and also had a hunger for the things of God. At least this is what their parents hoped and desired for them when they named their children.
We come back to this verse - apart from trying to gain information from the names themselves and see a very important principle of discipleship here. At face value, we have a situation where a godly man - even a prophet or oracle of God is taking two others under his wing for the purpose of declaring to them the things God has made known to him. This is the heart of true discipleship. Life on life ministry is so important. It is not enough to just try to read the Bible - we so desperately need for godly men to pour their lives into younger men and pass wisdom to them. Jesus did it with 12 - Paul did it with Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Epaphroditus and others. If we are wise, we will do it too.
The other thing we learn is that this kind of discipleship only happens as godly men take the time to spend a life gathering wisdom from God for the purpose of living a godly, holy, God-glorifying life. That means a life devoted to reading, studying, and knowing the Word of God. This means other things that waste our time need to be set aside for the Word. In our day we have young men who are experts at video games - who spend countless hours playing them. They will not be wise. There are others who waste countless hours watching television - and in our current culture - who use netflix to watch entire seasons of shows for days at a time. They too will not become wise. A choice has to be made to become an Agur, an Ithiel, or a Ucal. The choise has to do with time - with what is eternal - and with whether we desire to be worldly-wise - or Word-wise.
If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth. For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife. Proverbs 30:32-33
Pride, anger, and plotting evil are all very foolish endeavors. They may go a while without any kind of retaliating incident, but they are the kind of actions that store up trouble in the end. That is what this proverb proverb wawar us about today.
There is no mincing words at the beginning of this proverb. We are told that things like exalting ourselves or plotting evil are "foolish" things to do. In fact this proverb is trying to warn us about the consequences of these actions. This is done in the classic "if/then" fashion that we are used to seeing in the book of Proverbs. Therefore we are being warned that if we engage in pride or plotting evil - bad things are on the horizon for us.
The actions we are warned against here are twofold. First we have the sin of exalting ourselves. God values humility - and opposes the proud and those who would exalt themselves in the eyes of others. I knew of an educator who put himself up for awards in the educational system in which he worked. He genuinely thought he was worthy of the honor that these awards offered. The problem was that because he "exalted himself" in this way, he was seen as a joke among his fellow educators. Elsewhere in Proverbs we read that we need to let another praise us - and not our own lips. To speak in praise of self - is to speak foolish words of pride that, according to Scripture, goes before a fall. The second action we are warned against is that of plotting evil against another. We all know of the end of those who do this. Either they are caught in the process and shamed - or - they succeed in their plotting and it only causes them to become further corrupt. Whichever way this goes it is a foolish endeavor that often takes this lives of the ones who give themselves to such overt evil.
What God warns against though is that these things in and of themsleves cause a churning of anger that will end in further strife. Two examples are given to reminds us ot this. The first is the churning of butter. When milk is put into a butter churn it is a liquid. But after you spend time churning that butter over and over again - it eventually turns to butter. The second example is that of pressing someones nose. The idea here is that of not just pressing down on a nose - but twisting it violently. This, we are told, will produce blood. Both of these things are undeniable truths. You do these things - and the results are destined to follow.
The reason these two examples are given is because God wants us to know that the churning of anger will produce strife. When I first read this I fully understood how the churning of anger in plotting evil would produce strife. Consider someone who churns with their anger inside of them - and they submit themselves to their anger to the point to where they begin actively plotting evil against the one with whom they are angry. The plot unfolds - and the evil is done. The result WILL be strife. The one against whom the plot was carried out will become very angry - and strife between these two will last a very long time. The one I was a little confused about is the practice of someone exalted themselves. How does that produce anger and strife? Then it became clear to me that when someone exalts themselves - others around them resent it. They resent it because it is the natural desire of fallen man to be exalted. So the anger comes when they exalt themsleves - and I react because deep down - I think I should have been exalted. When this happens - I will begin to go out of my way (even subconsciously) to show how the person who exalted themselves does not deserve to be exalted. Another response is to have a resentment against this person because I despise the fact that they have exalted themselves.
God promises that these kind of actions are going to produce strife. They will reveal the one guilty of them is a fool - and eventually their lives are going to be surrounded by problems that come from anger being churned up in themselves and others. Jesus promised blessing, not the proud and self-exalting ones, but rather to peacemakers - and to those who humble themselves in the sight of God. The lives that seek peace and the blessing and exalting of others will have far more peace and joy than the fools who only think of themselves.
The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings' palaces. Proverbs 30:28
What is the exceeding wisdom that the lizard has for us? We are told of four animals here - all who demonstrate wisdom by their existance and practics. We come now to the fourth and final animal - the lizard. What does he have to teach us?
First we read that the lizard is not the most intimidating of animals in the world. He can be grasped with the hands. His natural defenses are not very effective. Thus he is able to be caught and grasped with a human hand. The lizard is not given a great deal of weapons at his disposal. The lizard spoken of here is usually the common ones that you seek on the walls in homes. He has no sharp claws or teeth - and the ones mentioned here have no venomous bite or sting to deliver. Yet we are told that he is in the palaces of the king.
The lesson for us is an interesting one. Though we may feel weak and defenseless, we can still be in high places. The lizard teaches us though that if we are to be in such places, we will need to be humble and come in such a way as is fitting for our situation. If the lizard were to come to the king's palace and seek to knock down the door - he would be a fool. If he decided to battle his way into his presence with his great strength - he would be deluding himself. If he decided he would come showing his comeliness and beauty - he would be blind to the fact that he is a lizard. The lizard uses none of these tactics. Instead he is humble and comes quietly. He remains on the wall and chooses not to be boisterous and draw attention to himself. Because this is how he comes - he can be in the presence of the king.
The lizard teaches us that great strength can be had in something as inauspicious as humility. God says that He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. There is something about a humble man that can disarm even a king. Therefore if we want to be received and come even to a king's palace - we need to learn humility. With the humble comes great favor. Jesus told us that when we come to a banquet we should not seek the place of honor - and take a seat next to our host. That would be coming in pride and arrogance - stating that we are viewed highly in our own mind. The warning was that when our host comes, he would see us in such a proud position and completely overlook us. When he would see someone far more humble taking a seat beneath himself - the host would invite him to sit where we are. At that point we would be humiliated and have to go to the very last seat in the sight of all those present. Instead we should adopt the attitude of the lizard. Jesus said that we should take the lowest place at the table. Then when our host sees us taking such a humble place, he would request for us a better seat - and we would be honored before all at the banquet. This is where our Lord told us that God opposes the proud, but honors the humble.
Exceedingly wise is the lizard, who embraces humility. Wise indeed he is to come quietly and without fanfare. Thus he is in king's palaces. Wise also is the man who in life chooses to humble himself, not just to be exalted, but who truly sees himself humbly. We are counselled to humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:10
). So be wise - be like a lizard - humble yourself - and be blessed by the Lord.
The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks; Proverbs 30:27
Locusts are interesting insects. They do not have a leader - and yet as they come up over the earth and destroy everything in their path, they march in ranks - each staying to a path that seems as if determined from a central planner. Because of this aspect of cooperation with one another, they can cause untold destruction to crops and trees. We do not have the kind of locust infestations that the Middle East does so in some ways we cannot imagine the destruction these cooperating, yet unled insects can cause.
What is the lesson for us in their "exceedingly wise" behavior? It is the lesson of cooperation with one another. There is so much that we can accomplish if we simply take the attitude of fulfilling our role and cooperating with others around us. Some of the greatest problems we face is when there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. That is a southernism for having too many who want to lead - and hardly anyone who wants to follow or cooperate. I've watched churches and other organizations implode because of this kind of "everyone wants to be king" attitude. We should learn from the locust and his great wisdom and know that by simply having a cooperative attitude and heart we will get so much more done and will accomplish great things.
There is one other thing that the locust can teach us. He does what he does because he is ultimately responding to his Creator and the instincts that God has given him. Much can be accomplished in our lives by following that example. Once we learn what the Word of God tells us we should be doing - we should go about doing it. The unseen Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish that task - as He will anyone else in the body of Christ. Would it not be a glorious thing to see God's people cooperating as they share the gospel, disciple new converts, and encourage them to do the same as they live their lives. What a mighty army the church would be if they would only cooperate under the unseen hand of God and His Word working in their hearts. Whereas the locust our teacher uses such instincts for destruction, the body of Christ could use this lesson for the advancement of God's kingdom all over the world.
The shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks; Proverbs 30:26
The shaphanim is the second animal from which we are to learn in this passage. First of all we need to identify just what a "shephanim" is. They are not rabbits as some first thought. They are the rock hyrax - or hyrax syriacus. They are very weak and defenseless little creatures. The book of Leviticus lists them among he unclean animals. They have long hair, a short little tail, and round ears. These little animals are for the most part defenseless. They cannot burrow into the ground for safety and they have precious little about them that strikes fear into any predator. What they do for safety is that they hind in and among the rocks to find a place they can be safe.
The point of this reference to one of the most helpless of animals is not to point to his great power - because he has none - but rather to point to his wisdom. He is considered exceedingly wise for taking refuge in the rocks. The point is to show that he is weak - unable to defend himself - with many natual predators - yet he finds safety in the rocks. What a great picture for us as men. The little rock hyrax does have a message of wisdom for us weak men as well. We are weak and unclean in the sight of God. Man boasts great strength, yet his boasts before a holy God are empty and meaningless. He is utterly helpless before God - and due to his sin and rebellion - he faces a fate worse than death in the judgment. Yet, just as the little rock hyrax finds refuge, safety, and help in the rock - so we as men should find a similar "exceeding wisdom" in running to the Rock as well. Our rock though is not a physical inanimate object laying on the ground. Our Rock is Jesus Christ, the Rock of ages. David knew of Him when he asked Jehovah to "lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61:2
) He is the Rock Moses came to and struck from which came abundant rivers of water that gave drink to a thirsty and dry people. He is the "cleft of the rock" in which the Lord hid Moses as all His glory passed by, so that Moses would not be consumed." He is the Rock upon which we should build so that our house may stand in times of difficulty - of rain, flood, and storm. He is the Rock upon which God will build His church so that the very gates of hell will not prevail against it.
The little rock hyrax has a message for us. We are defenseless, without hope of deliverance in our own strength, and facing certain death. We need to run to the Rock of ages - the Rock of our salvation - the Rock of refuge - Who is Jesus Christ. There is no other place of true safety for us. Let us come unto Him then, Who is our safety and our hope. Let us come to Him and find not just strength - but ultimate safety from every enemy - and from the judgment that will come.
Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: the ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:24-25
Here is a section in Proverbs that urges us to look at the glory of God in nature - as well as the lessons that He wants to teach us from what He has made in the animal kingdom. God has the writer call our attention to four animals that are small, yet exceedingly wise. Therefore our job is to look at these animals and glean what we can from their habits and their actions. This is also a kind of shot at the "bigger is always better" mentality that exists in our world. The saying should be "wiser is better." Since that is true in almost every situation, why don't we apply ourselves to learning from the ants, shapharim, locusts, and lizard for a few days.
We are first called to look at ants. This is kind of funny, because among the boys that I hung out with as a child, we all looked at ants. We were amazed at them as they worked hard - and as they marched on in their single line to and from a food source until they had gathered every last bit of it and taken it to their home. This is what we are called to see from the ant their wisdom in preparing food when it is a season to do so - and preparing it for a time when there will be no sowing and reaping because winter has come and the growing cycle is dormant.
We are reminded of a previous proverb in chatper 6:6-8 telling us to go to the ant and learn from her ways so that we will not be sluggards - so that we will not be lazy and undisciplined in providing for our families. The wisdom of the ant is that he prepares when he can for a time when he will need what he has prepared. This makes the ant exceedingly wise.
In this life we need to be wise in preparing for the future as best we can. That meant for me getting life insurance to put my wife's heart at ease in the event I die before her. That meant learning to manage our finances, paying off debt, and then seeking to stay out of debt. It meant living within our means - and when possible and within the will of God - working hard at additional things to provide additional funds for things like our children's education and paying off our home early. Please understand that the example of the ant is that he works HARD when he can to provide. That is the other exceedingly wise thing we should learn - that it is godly to work HARD to provide for your family. This also should remind us of this responsiblity in spiritual things as well. Are we "working hard" spiritually for our families - growing in the Lord, studying the Scriptures, praying, being a godly example? Your children need to see this EARLY in our lives - because there will come a day when they will decide which direction they are going in life. Know this, they will far more follow our example that they will what we've told them to do - especially when these two things did not match up in our lives.
I want to relate a passage I read from J. Vernon McGee on the ant. He wrote about the emperor Hadrian, who was a wicked ruler in the Roman empire. It was related that he said the following when he was dying,
"No more crown for this head, no more beauty for these eyes, no more music for these ears, and no morefood for this stomach of mine. But my soul, oh, my soul, what is to become of you?"
The reason I share this is because wisdom prepares now for something that you cannot prepare for in the future after it has come. The Word of God lets us know in Hebrews 9:27
that after we die physically there will be a judgment. Jesus informs us in the gospels that we will be judged for every idle word that we speak. Romans informs us that if we want to live by the Law, we will be judged by it - and that no one is ever made righteous by the Law. Instead they are made painfully aware of their heart of rebellion and their sin. So the question for us is also this. Have we made preparation for the future by drawing near to God and running to His remedy for our souls in the gospel of Jesus Christ? There is no other way for men to be made right with God. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. There is no other way, truth, of life - except Jesus Christ - and He is the only way to come to the Father except through Him. To delay in this is foolishness of the ultimate kind. Be exceedingly wise like the ant - and while it is a time to work - work hard. While it is a time to grow spiritually - apply yourself wholly to this task. Finally, while it is the day of salvation - repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong." Proverbs 30:20
One of the worst aspects of sexual sin is the way that is blinds us to the truth. Here we have a proverb dealing with the women who commits adultery. Her way is to indulge her sin as one would sit down to a big meal - then wipe her mouth afterwards and boldly state that she has done nothing wrong. She is completely blind and arrogantly unmoved by her actions and by the Word of God which proclaims them wicked.
We are living in the days of sin that looks just like this. We have those who live openly in their sin - and argue that such a lifestyle choice is not sin. God has proclaimed that adultery is sin - and that commandment from the time of Moses still stands this day without having been weakened in the slightest. Some might protest that Jesus forgave the woman caught in the very act of adultery. I would agree - but would add that after he gave her the most gracious forgiveness, He also stated to her that she should go her way and SIN NO MORE. When He gave her grace - it was the grace of God that teaches us NOT TO SIN. It was not grace that condoned sin. And just in case some have forgotten the rest of the gospel - He eventually bore her sin to calvary's cross and paid the full measure of God's wrath for it.
When a society begins to weaken its moral stances on adultery and sexual sin, it is preparing that society for horrible consequences. When that lax morality reaches the point where adulterous women and men are allowed to embrace their wickedness while openly proclaiming that they've done nothing wrong - such a society is at the breaking point. It cannot stand much longer because its very foundations are crumbling to the ground.
Please pray for the United States - praying for revival in the church and awakening among the lost. We've abandoned our moral underpinnings handed down to us from our forefathers. We need for God to first revive His church so that we will once again hold fast to biblical morals - regardless of what is currently morally in style in our nation. Unless this work of revival happens among us first, there will be no awakening among the lost. We must put our moral house in order - dealing with our sexual sins. Then we will have the moral authority to speak to our nation - to pray for our nation - and to witness the people of our nation return to the Lord and to the sanity of sexual morality. May God have mercy on us - and revive and restore us in this most desperate of days.
There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:18-19
Agur here did not fully grasp these things - and to be honest with you, there are some of these same things which amaze me. Unfortunately for us, the man of science today would respond with an air of superiority and quickly describe for us the scientific reason for these things. Our culture has lost that sense of wonder that once existed as we look at things - and personally, I think it is at a great loss to us.
When I look at an eagle in the sky as it soars ever higher with what seems to be no effort whatsoever, I too consider it wonderful. The eagle is riding on thermals which lift it up into the sky. Another awesome picture is how an eagle flies directly into a storm - allowing those same wind currents to lift it above the storm. Even though I know these things - I still like to look in wonder at an eagle rising in on the horizon.
The way of a serpent on a rock is not so wonderful to me. That is because one thing comes between me and snakes - distance. But it is interesting to see how a snake warms himself on a rock - and keeps his cold blooded body warm. He can look so peaceful as he is coiled on the rock - yet if we were to agitate him - we could wind up facing a very terrifying foe as he readies himself to strike.
The next on our list is the way of a man with a maid. If you have ever watched a guy when a girl comes around you fully grasp what Agur is saying. I work with young men a lot. One of the most interesting things I deal with is helping them with determining when they need to begin pursuing a young lady as a bride. When they are not within God's will, this situation can be a complete disaster. It is astounding how a focused young man can just about lose his mind when this happens. By this I am not referring to true insanity - but rather the kind of goofiness that we attribute to love - or at least someone who thinks they are in love. Anyway . . . in the end we understand why Agur said what he said - and we agree with him.
Why is this put in Proverbs though? It is because I believe a wise man knows that not everything can be explained in life. There are some things we should just enjoy being amazed about in life. Not that we should lose our curiosity or desire to learn, but honestly - there are just some things that will never cease to amaze us. These are the things that keep wonder alive in our hearts. A wise man knows that a little wonder goes a long way as we move through life. Try it some time . . . you'll like it.
There is a kind of man
who curses his father And does not bless his mother. There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness. There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.
There is a kind of man
whose teeth are like
swords And his jaw teeth like
knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men. Proverbs 30:11-14
Today's proverb is a four verse description of the hateful, wicked man. The way this passage refers to this is with the phrase, "There is a kind." The word "kind" is actually the Hebrew word for generation. When you have a generation of people who are like this - you have a very difficult time coming upon the earth. It is an interesting list of things that make for a wicked generation.
Verse 11 describes the first godless characteristic - which is having graceless, ungrateful children who dishonor their parents. This generation curses their fathers and does not bless their mothers. They disobey the one commandment with a promise - Honor your father and mother. The bedrock of any generation is their ability to learn from their parents. When the family goes awry there will be a basic disfunction and rebellion that will pervade the entire structure of the society. The basic unit for passing on wisdom is the family. Proverbs makes it clear again and again in the first 9 chapters of this book that it is through a father and mother that wisdom flows to the next generation. So, when they have basic disdain for their parents that wisdom is lost to an entire generation. We watched this in the late 1950's and 60's as almost an entire generation cast off the morals and the wisdom of their parents and decided to start their own revolution. They decided that their's would be a generation of love and peace. They tuned out on drugs, turned their ears from hearing and honoring their parents, and did whatever they wanted. It was a disastrous generation - and those who embraced this kind of lifestyle and living continue to wreak havoc on society today.
The second godless characteristic of this generation is that they are pure in their own eyes. The Bible considered this particular sin one that is very damaging. Those who consider themselves pure in their own eyes are blind to the truth that they are fallen and sinful. They will justify themselves no matter who disgusting and disobedient their behavior becomes. It is as if they are deaf to anything God says - and decide that whatever their flesh wants is true and good. Those who fall into this trap will find themselves hopelessly bound in their sin and wickedness - and will only be delivered by the sovereign goodness of God as He draws them and illumines them to truth that is outside of themselves. The Word tells us that even though they are pure in their own eyes, they are still unwashed from their filthiness. Just because we decide we are going to redefine sin in our own minds does not mean that we are not guilty of it in God's sight. No matter how many times the world tries to redefine sin, God's Word stands as ultimate and absolute truth. When the wicked disobey God's Word - and decide that their own thinking is what defines pure - they still wind up standing before God as sinners. But the world in which they live is upside down - and as such it is a difficult place for believers and those who desire to lead holy lives to live.
The third evil characteristic is that they are arrogant. This is described as having "lofty" eyes. This simply means that they look down upon everyone else. They consider themselves awesome and wonderful, while everyone else is lower than them. This makes them arrogant. Arrogance is defined in the Bible as primarily a sin agaisnt God. Psalm 119:21
speaks of the arrogant as those who wander from God's commandments. They ignore and look down upon God Himself - and therefore think far higher of themselves and what they want to do than they do of the commandments of God. Proverbs says this makes them embrace sin and be careless (Prov 14:16
) as well as those who stir up strife (Prov 28:25
). An arrogant heart ultimately disregards God. Such a generation will exalt their own thinking and reasoning above God's. If anyone tries to instruct them or correct them - up will go their eyes and eyelids as they look down on the poor fool who has decided to oppose their perfect wisdom. Problem is the fool is the one whose eyelids are lifted in arrogance against God and against those who walk in His wisdom.
Disregard for parents, purity in our own eyes, and arrogance will lead to a society where gentility is gone. The last of these four evil characteristics is that this generation is one where their mouths are out of control. Their teeth are like swords - their jaw teeth are like knives - to devour the needy and afflicted among men. They have no regard for the poor and needy. They only see them as someone to exploit for their own ends. There is a complete lack of civility because there was never other characteristics built into their lives to encourage it. They do not regard parents - who would have taught them obedience and selflessness. They do not see anything as sin - because they justify their own actions - and would even justify treating the afflicted and needy badly. Finally, they are arrogant - and view all others as beneath themselves. This makes it far easier to have little or no conscience at all as long as they get what they want in the end.
There is a generation that lives this way. Before you think I am going to refer to a specific generation - think about what the Bible says about the heart condition of mankind. This is actually what happens in every generation of men. It happens because of the fall of man into sin. It happens because we are in rebellion against God - and want to do our own thing. The generation of which Solomon speaks is any generation from the fall to the end of the age. Unless God intervenes with the gospel and the saving of mankind by His grace - we would all eventually gravitate in these four directions. These verses teach us wisdom by helping us to understand where the sinful nature and the flesh will take us. If anything these verses should make us very open to running to God for his grace and His transformation. Because if we don't - this is most likely what life will look like. A world filled with a disregard for parents, filth being called purity, arrogance, and a society filled with harmful and vicious words. This is a generation to be avoided at all costs. But the only way out is through the gospel of Jesus Christ - and the regeneration in Him that changes us from the inside out.