All through the Bible, imagery from nature has been used to teach spiritual truths. Here, too, using nature, the proverb teaches us lessons about humility.
Read Proverbs 30:18-19. What is it saying here, too, about the limits of human understanding?
Agur sees mystery in even many of the
common things. It is a very fascinating mix of mysteries that he presents here. The first two are from animals, an eagle silently moving through the sky, a snake silently moving along the earth.
He then shifts to two human actions: a ship on the sea, and a man with a woman. Even today, with all our scientific knowledge, so many mysteries remain. How crucial it is that we never lose our appreciation for the depth and majesty of life. That attitude will surely help keep us humble before God.
Read Proverbs 30:24–28. What other mysteries from nature catch the author’s attention and awe?
It’s interesting that the immediately preceding verses (Prov. 30:20–23) deal with human folly, arrogance, and vice. He then shifts to the animal world, pointing to small and humble creatures, even though he uses the same Hebrew word for
wise in reference to them that is used in reference to humans (Prov. 3:13) and even God Himself (Job 12:13, Ps. 104:24). Even today, with all our advances in science, how these creatures do what they do remains beyond our full comprehension. How much more so their actions must have baffled this wise man in his time. And he was indeed wise, because one of the great signs of wisdom is to acknowledge just how little we know, even about the commonest things.
Think about some of the
simplest things in nature: the leaf of a tree, a drop of water, a seashell. How should the fact that even these things are full of mysteries keep us humble?