Proverbs 30 was written by “Agur Ben Yakeh,” of whom we know little; such as what tribe he was from, or when he lived. We do know that he is one of less than one hundred human beings who were uniquely chosen by God to contribute to the written Word of God. Agur, undoubtedly wiser than most human beings who have ever lived, begins by professing himself more stupid than any man. “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy Ones” (Proverbs 30:2-3). Agur laments that he is not very bright when it comes to spiritual matters. Intellectually, he admits not having what it takes to figure out the “kiddoshim” (“holy ones” or “holy things”). He knows that his own human understanding is insufficient when it comes to holy things, like the holy God, the angels, heaven, or the way to attain salvation. On his own, he can’t get sufficient insight into these holy things, nor truly comprehend them. Agur had a deep sense of his limitations in these great spiritual matters. He knew that, in his natural state, man is incapable of understanding, let alone apprehending the things of the Spirit of God. Apart from divine revelation, Agur knows that he cannot grasp the kiddoshim – the holy things connected to God. In reality, Agur was a very wise man, who keenly felt his ignorance, as is usually the case with those who are truly wise.
To make his point even clearer, Agur includes five questions which illustrate the limitations of man’s understanding, and show that it is absurd for man to think that he can explain God’s works or presume that he understands the holy, infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful Creator. “Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4).
Agur challenges mankind to explain the heavens above, the winds, the waters, and the earth: “Who can pretend to have traveled the vast expanses of the heavens to view the billions of galaxies, and then to have descended to earth, bringing us back a description of them? Who has access to both the heavens and the earth? Who is able to travel between the worlds? Who can pretend to have command of the winds, to have grasped them in his hand and controlled them, as God does? Where is the man who can control the winds, like the mighty hurricanes which are more powerful than the biggest nuclear bomb man has built? Who can design, create and sustain the amazing water cycle, so that salt water evaporates over the oceans, becomes fresh water, is transported thousands of miles, cools and condenses in the atmosphere, and then precipitates out, providing life-giving water to man, animals and plants? Who is there among us who has set boundaries for the oceans and seas as a man would contain some raindrops on his raincoat?
Who can create a huge planet, whirling through space, orbiting around the sun at 66,600 miles per hour, or 18.47 miles per second? Who else could design, create and sustain this great globe, 7913 miles in diameter, with 197,000,000 square miles of surface area, weighing 6,595 billion billion tons (6,595 followed by 18 zeros!), filled with spectacular mountains, beautiful valleys, majestic continents, mighty oceans, rivers, forests and deserts, with its millions of species of plant and animal life, upon which 6 billion humans live? Who made all this and keeps it going?”
No man can adequately answer the questions raised here. Even now, at the beginning of the 21st century, man imagines that he knows so much, but in fact we still know so little. Great advances have been made in the sciences over the past five hundred years, yet there is much about the physical world that we still don’t know. The more we learn, the more we realize how little we really understand. If we can’t fathom the creation, how dare we think we can comprehend the Creator, who is far greater than the creation?
“What is His name, or His Son’s name?” What human being really understands that mysterious Name, the ineffable essence that is God, that unimaginable brightness which no man can see? And what human being, apart from divine revelation, knows His Son’s Name??? Does that mean that the God of Israel has a Son? Is the son the nation of Israel (see Exodus 4:22)? Or could this mysterious Son be even more? Could He be that perfect Son of Israel, and the eternal Son of God, who always existed, who, along with God, designed, created and now sustains the universe, and who alone reveals who God is? Could God’s Son, who was only hinted at when Agur wrote this, be Yeshua of Nazareth, who claimed to be that unique Son of God?
Let me suggest that the Son of God, who has now been revealed by His incarnation, His glorious life, His amazing death and resurrection, is equally the answer to the five questions raised by Agur: Who has ascended into heaven and descended? From eternity, Yeshua was in heaven, seated at God’s right hand and sharing His glory. From that exalted place He willingly descended to earth and took our nature upon Himself. Never was there such a descending from the lofty to the low. And after His incarnation, after His magnificent life and ministry, after his death and resurrection to provide our atonement, it was with that added human nature that He ascended back to heaven, to receive once again the glory of His exalted state. Who besides Messiah Yeshua could claim: “Truly truly I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man” (John 3:11-13).
Who else is so intimately acquainted with both heaven and earth? Who else has access to both, and is therefore able to reconcile both, to heal the rift between the realm of God and the world of men? And why did He descend from heaven to earth and ascend? Was it not to die a dreadful and humiliating death on a Roman cross, to drink the cup of God’s wrath which otherwise could never have been drained, and in so doing atone for our sins? He died and was buried, but God raised Him from the dead, and in triumph He ascended back to the glories of heaven, His mission on earth accomplished. Who else is uniquely suited to be the perfect Mediator between God and man? Who else can bring the sons of earth into the glories of heaven, but the One who descended from heaven, and ascended? Jews and Gentiles are not directed to church or synagogue, not to sacraments and holidays, not to man-made traditions, but to a risen and ascended Messiah, seated in the highest heavens! It is faith in the One who descended, the resurrected and ascended Lord, the Man Messiah Yeshua, which opens the way for atonement, everlasting peace and eternal life.
The Son of God who ascended into heaven and descended is also Lord of the winds and the waves. Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Once, while Yeshua and his disciples were out on a boat on the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), a storm suddenly broke over the lake. Within moments their small boat was rapidly filling with water as the waves crashed over its side. In the midst of this raging storm, Yeshua was fast asleep! But when He was awakened, the young rabbi rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately the wind subsided, and the waters became calm. Yeshua’s disciples, raised under the influence of the Scriptures, knew that the God of Israel alone is the One who controls the storms. They comprehended that it was the Lord who hurled a great wind on the sea, so that there was a great storm, and the ship on which the disobedient prophet Jonah took passage was about to break up. Once the rebellious prophet was thrown into the sea, the Lord immediately stopped its raging. The disciples were familiar with the Psalm where King David prayed: “Lord, You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.” They knew the Psalmist declared: “You rule the swelling of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.” As they saw the winds and sea obeying the young rabbi from Nazareth, these Jewish men caught a glimpse that somehow, mysteriously, in Yeshua of Nazareth, the God of Israel was standing in their midst.
Who has established all the ends of the earth? Yochanan (John) declared that all things came into being by Yeshua, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. Rabbi Paul claimed that by Yeshua all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible… all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. The Word of God makes very clear that it is Yeshua of Nazareth who has established all the ends of the earth.
What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know! The natural man will never be able to comprehend God, or the Son of God. Even the smartest of men, like Agur, is utterly inadequate when confronted with the holiness, greatness, infinite power and wisdom of God and His Son. Therefore we dare not trust in our own wisdom. We must not rely on our limited, deficient human reasoning. Instead, we must be guided by the wisdom that comes to us from the inspired Word of the all-wise Creator God. If you want to understand the kiddoshim, the holy things of God, you must go to the Word of God and discover what He has revealed about Himself, and what He expects from you. When you look to the Word of God, you may rely upon what you find there as both sure and sufficient.
THE WORD OF GOD
Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him (Proverbs 30:5). The word “tested” is used elsewhere in the Scriptures to describe purifying metal. The Word of God is like gold or silver that has been tested in the refining fires, and all the impurities removed, so that it comes out pure and valuable. God’s word is tested so that there is not the smallest amount of deceit or corruption in it. Men’s words must be read or heard, filtering out the true from the false, the pure from the impure, the right from the wrong; but there is no impurity in the Word of God. God’s tested Word can be relied upon to accurately tell us what life is all about, what we should believe, how we should conduct ourselves and what is worth pursuing. We can entrust the well-being of our lives and the future of our souls upon it. This tested Word, when believed, will protect us from the greatest spiritual dangers. It directs us to go to the Son of God for protection. If we do, we will find that God will be a shield and a refuge for us, and keep us safe from everything that can harm us – from the dangers of sin, from our deceitful lusts, our own desperately sick hearts, our fallen nature; against the cunning plans of our adversary the devil.
This confidence in God and His tested Word is followed by a warning not to add to it. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar (Proverbs 30:6). God’s Word is not only tested, but it is also sufficient for us. It contains all the wisdom we need to lead a successful life. In the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and the New Covenant Scriptures, God has revealed Himself to us. In this Book, and this Book alone, God has made Himself known; revealing His will, His purpose, His plan, and His way which will result in salvation, glory and eternal life for the saints, and death and destruction for those who ignore or disobey this Word.
The all-wise God is so much wiser than us, and our understanding is so limited when compared to His, that we should never think of elevating our imperfect man-made ideas to compete with His Word. The traditions of fallible men are not to be received with the same status as the Word of God. The Talmud, the Kaballah, much of Rabbinic and Catholic traditions, alleged extra-Biblical “revelations” like the Koran or the Book of Mormon, violate this principle. Our dreams, visions and prophecies must line up with the Word of God, and never contradict it. Our faith and practice must be guided on it. Our ideas and thoughts must conform to it. Our explanations and interpretations must always faithfully expound it. We must not read anything into it, but only faithfully draw out what is there. There is nothing of equal authority to the Word of God, and anyone who claims otherwise will be demonstrated to have been a liar. But if we love the Word of God, if we treasure it above gold and silver, we will find blessing and success in this world, and life everlasting in the world to come.