Proverbs 30 is ‘the sayings of Agur son of Jakeh.’
That’s all we know for sure about him, except that :
1) He was wise. A keen observer of nature – he philosophised from and about it. He drew sharp analogies about life from observation of (for example) ants, fire – even locusts, lizards and leeches! (three great Ls for a preacher there… ). The name ‘Agur’ means collector – he compiled knowledge wherever available. I bet he’d have loved the internet!
2) He was willing to admit what he didn’t know: There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand…
Only three or four? Wow – good going! I’m sure there was more, he was perhaps saying, “Today, I’m struggling to get my head around these particular things…”
I read a great book, “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci.”
The author notes how that great polymath was continually curious, asking questions and learning to applying knowledge in practical situations and learning from mistakes. He honed all his senses to observe in a way that combined science and art and formed connections between different observations and problems. The book has fantastic suggestions throughout to help us grow in such wisdom utilising Da Vinci’s techniques – for example, carrying a little notebook everywhere to record your thoughts, questions and ideas.
Leonardo was of course famously centuries ahead of his time – but the unknown Agur was ahead of him!
The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It starts when we know what we don’t know. Agur had the humility to know that however clever he was, he still had a lot to learn about the God who made the lion and the lizard: He starts:“I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man’s understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”
He finishes by warning of the danger of self exaltation.
“If you have played the fool and exalted yourself….clap your hand over your mouth!”
Wisdom indeed. But I think I’ll keep quiet.