Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 30:11-17

I like certain kinds of old things. I don’t understand antique furniture enough to enjoy them or to have them. A piece of antique china may appeal to my eye once in a while, but I usually feel no need to buy it. A well-cared for 150 year old postage stamp is a beautiful thing, and I am delighted to own many of them. And a 150 year old envelope written by a future President of the United States is particularly special to me. Yesterday Judy got a box from one of her brothers containing an old, old book filled with 19th century photos of family members and others. I am excited to spend some time in there.
But these things are all relatively recent compared to the Word of God. We need to remind ourselves that the letter of Paul to the Ephesian church was written 2,000 years ago. It is more than ten times as old as the oldest stamp, envelope or document in my collection. And this chapter from Proverbs was written about a thousand years before Paul wrote his letters. But the Bible is not like any ordinary book or human document. It is timeless. And a case in point are these verses from chapter 30. Agur says, “There is a generation” which does this and that, probably referring to young people he knew. But we could say the same thing about young people we know today – teenagers and pre-teens.
The Bible was authored by the timeless Holy Spirit. By “timeless” I mean, the Spirit of God, doesn’t pass through time; He isn’t governed by time. He doesn’t recognize days and years; He doesn’t age; He never had a youth and middle age. The Holy Spirit has never needed to mature. While He knows the meaning of time, time has no meaning for Him. I wish I had a better way to describe how far above time the omnipresent God is. Could we say that God could speak to Noah, David and Paul at the same time? The Holy Spirit was speaking as much about the 21st century as he was 10th century BC. when he led Agur to write these words.
As I often say, what the Bible says about sin is as true today as it was 3,000 years ago. And the nature of the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God hasn’t diminished through time. God has not mellowed or relaxed His holiness since the days of Moses or Abraham. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever.” Furthermore, despite all the outward trappings of society, people are essentially the same as they were when Noah entered the ark and the flood came. Agur may have been thinking of a specific group of 15-year-old kids, when he penned these words. But the Holy Spirit was looking beyond 1,000 BC. He was looking at us and every generation in between.
There is, and always has been, a generation of people prone to curse their father.
The more spiritual-minded among us might want to apply that to cursing God the Father, and it would not be incorrect, but I don’t think Agur had that in mind. There has always been in every generation a generation that curseth their earthly father. And why? Because there has never been a perfect, flawless, ultimately wise human father. From day of the birth of the first baby, Cain, every human father has been a sinner and worthy of blame before God. Some have been better fathers than others, but there has never been one that was perfect. Despite that fact, there has never been a father worthy of curses from his son or his daughter. He may be cursed by God, but that is not the purview or balliwick of any of his children.
Why would any child curse his father? The general answer would have to be because of choice – the child chooses to curse his father. Sure, all those second and third generations are as corrupted by sin as their fathers. And yes, there has always been a generation, as Paul says, who are “without natural affection.” But to actually curse is a choice that sinful creatures make. Rarely are we circumspect; most of us want to look at things in only one way. And young people may be more prone to do that than people who have matured a little bit. The cursing child does not generally see all the blessings that parent has given to him – he sees only the failures of his father and perhaps his evils.
But curse father? What is the point? We are given only a certain amount of energy to burn in a day. Why spend it uselessly? What benefit is there in cursing someone – anyone? Father? Why not recognize the wickedness in that other person – even in one’s father if necessaryl – and then make sure it’s not duplicated in us – his children? Cursing never does anyone any good – especially the one doing the cursing.
There is a generation that doth not bless their mother.
The wicked generation to which Agur points, can manifest itself either negatively or less negatively. There is the cursing of one’s parents, and there is simply not acknowledging the blessings of those parents. How disgusting it is for children to ignore the sacrifice parents – or as Agur puts it – the sacrifice which mothers make daily for their children. A 20-year-old young man is still living at home; how many meals has his mother fixed for him? 20,000? And how many times has she done his laundry? 1,000? How many times has she done her best to cheer him up; comfort him and to make him laugh? 100,000? How often has she bestowed her love on that child? A million times? And still there is a generation that doeth not bless their mother. Why?
Because there is a generation of kids with lofty, self-righteous, sin-blinded eyes.
“There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.” The reason that child doesn’t bless and thank his mother as much as he should is due to his sinful self-interest. He thinks that he deserves his mother’s servitude and therefore she doesn’t deserve his praise or thanks. He believes that he is a better person than his father, so thinks himself fit to curse dad for his failures toward him.
“There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” That is a general statement which is universally true. There has never been a new generation born into this world which arrived without the filthiness of sin. Furthermore, all generations “have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,” but in God’s eyes every generation is filthy. Who art thou, O child, that thinkest thou canst reply to your father with curses and threats? What makes you think you deserve your mother’s slavery? That you don’t need to bless her? Christ Jesus spake a parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised their parents. One of them stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as my parents are.” Thou fool, this night or at least very soon thy soul shall be required of thee, and you’ll find that the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
There children whose words, fingers and teeth are sharp and dangerous.
“There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” I don’t know about you, but my teeth aren’t as sharp as they once were. I bite my tongue or my cheek every now and then, but my teeth aren’t quite as pointed as they use to be. I guess, I’ve chewed too many ice cubes since I was a teenager.
There are few curses, few words and sentences as sharp and cutting as those from a wicked child toward his parents. And if that second generation doesn’t quickly learn, then their swords and knives will begin to afflict others – especially those who are weaker than themselves. Children who are bullies at home, soon become bullies at school and on the street. Children who curse their fathers and refuse to honor their mothers usually become a problem to society and either become powerful evil individuals or prisoners of the state. What Agur is implying is that wicked and troublesome children become even more wicked adults.
And then without going into details he gives a couple of examples. “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: the grave; And the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.” One reason children curse their fathers and refuse to bless their mothers is their greed. They think that they don’t get enough unearned spending money; they don’t have enough video games. They aren’t given enough time to play the video games they do have – so they curse their father’s strictness. They want more and more, while they often contribute less and less to the family. Like the fire, the thirsty ground and the blood-sucking leach, they cry out more, more, more; give, give, give.
Oh how this greedy, wicked generation needs to learn the lesson of verse 17.
“The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” The generation which curses his father and refuses to bless his mother will find God and all nature against him. The reference to ravens of the valley and young eagles may be figurative, but the lesson is real, practical and obvious. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
And if that ungrateful generation does not humbly kneel before Jehovah, the judge of Heaven and Earth, it will find its tongues and eyes and everything else in eternal torment.