I have three, no four seemingly random thoughts floating around in my head which I shall attempt to churn into a cohesive and coherent thought in the end.
Let’s start with a guy named Agur. If you were listening to the All New Morning Show with Ryan and Beth and the Bible Quiz question was, “Who was Agur?” it’s a pretty fair bet very few of even Kinship Radio’s best Bible scholars would recognize that name. This is not your standard Sunday School lesson kind of guy, but he wrote the entirety of Proverbs 30. Here’s the first three verses:
“The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.
I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One. ” (NLT)
Some translations render the word “stupid” as “brutish” and the Hebrew word in the original text is בַ֣עַר (ḇa·‘ar) which means “of cattle brutishness.” In other words, old Agur here is telling us he’s as dumb as a cow. I’m with you, Agur. There’s been more than one time in my life when I felt that stupid.
Agur goes on to list three, no four things several times throughout the chapter and then concludes with verse 33, which reads:
“As the beating of cream yields butter
and striking the nose causes bleeding,
so stirring up anger causes quarrels.” (NLT)
And that leads me to the second of my series of possibly unrelated points: As you may have noticed, I have mentioned the movie “Jesus Revolution” in this blog and it was obvious I like it. Last week, I came across someone on social media who thought the movie was awful because it promoted the gay agenda, the central character Lonnie Frisbee had problems with sin, and some of the actors were of less than perfect character. I proceeded to get in an online argument with this sister in Christ during which I scolded her harshly for being a Pharisee and lectured her most stringently.
As it turned out, I had the opportunity to see the movie again on Sunday and came to the conclusion that it was not about Lonnie Frisbee or Chuck Smith or Greg Laurie. The movie was about Jesus.
Duh. Hence the title.
Item #3: Last week, I wrote about how joy is a good thing. This was triggered by a statement by a non-Christian who said the only reason we Christians do good things is to feel good about ourselves. I went on for about 900 words defending the joy we feel when we step out in obedience and faith and do the good works God intended for us to do from the beginning of time. (See Ephesians 2:10) All of that is true, but what I neglected to consider in writing that post is that the person who said it is probably suffering from a lack of joy in his or her life. When someone criticizes the joy of the LORD, shouldn’t we consider where that comes from, open our hearts and souls, and ask questions that could heal a hurting soul with the love of Jesus?
And that leads to the fourth and last item: A very common verse we’ve all heard many times is Psalm 46:10:
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”(ESV)
The Hebrew word here for “be still” is הַרְפּ֣וּ (har·pū) which means to sink into, to relax into God. A few translations use the phrase “cease striving.” I believe the intent here is that I surrender my attempts and striving to be who I think I should be in Christ and simply let God be the LORD and God of my life. Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. (Philippians 2:6)
I don’t have to win arguments online to be the Christian I am supposed to be. I don’t have to defend the honor of Jesus because He is already worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. This Christianity thing is not about me. It’s about Jesus.
Duh. Hence the “Christ” in “Christianity.”
Agur may have considered himself a stupid, brutish cow but he was right. We can insist on being “right,” stir up a bunch of anger and have someone end up with a bloody nose. Or, we can expend our energy and effort offering the milk of human kindness and produce something better than smooth, creamy, delicious butter –a soul healed by the love of Jesus.
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. (NLT)
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know! (NLT)
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Praise be to God!