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Sabbath School Lessons on Proverbs
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: The Humility of the Wise *
Introduction: The Proverbs repeatedly tell us that wisdom brings
wealth and happiness, while being a fool or lazy brings poverty and
grief. When people are doing very well in life, are they generally
humble? My observation is that they are not humble, and for a very
simple reason. Since what they have been doing in life has turned out
well, they think their opinions are superior to those whose lives
have not turned out as well. Perhaps they are right. The problem is
that the Bible cites humility as a virtue, and proud people are not
being wise. Let's dig into our study of Proverbs to better
understand the virtue of humility!
- Ignorant and Wrong
- Read Proverbs 30:1-2. Some commentaries say these names
are symbolic of other Bible characters, others say that it
is the meaning of the names that is important. Who is the
speaker? (Agur. We will keep things simple and treat this
as only the speaker's name.)
- What kind of opinion does the speaker have of his
knowledge and education? (He says he is the most
ignorant person. That is humility!)
- Read Proverbs 30:3. What special ignorance does Agur
confess? (He does not know about God. He has not learned
- Read Proverbs 30:4. Let's restate these questions in the
language of today. How about this:
- Who is God?
- Where is heaven?
- Who controls the weather?
- Who sets the boundaries of the oceans?
- Who decided where the land ends?
- What is the name of God and the name of His Son?
- What do you think is unique about these
questions? (They are some of the great
questions of life.)
- What do these questions assume that modern
humans might not? (They assume a thinking
entity governs the universe.)
- Read Proverbs 30:5. Wait a minute! Is another person
writing here? Did Agur just have a bolt of wisdom strike
him? What has happened to cause Agur to point to the
"flawless" words of God? (For this to make sense, Agur
must be a believer in God. His message is that the answers
to all of these fundamental questions in life come from
God. We might not realize it, but when it comes to
answering these fundamental questions of life, like Agur,
we are pretty uniformed.)
- How is God a shield when it comes to the most
fundamental questions of life? (God gives us inside
knowledge. We might not know a lot, but what we know
- Read Proverbs 30:6 and Deuteronomy 4:2. Deuteronomy 4:2 is
one of my favorite passages because it reminds us that
making up new rules is just as wrong as saying it is okay
to ignore God's existing rules. I think this text should
be posted in every Christian school! Is Proverbs 30:6 just
repeating this same truth? (I think we have something
different in Proverbs. The topic is some of the ultimate
questions in life. God says don't add to that which has
- Does this mean we should ignore science? (Psalms
19:1-3 reveals that nature teaches us about God. I
don't think this text is telling us to ignore nature
and what it reveals through science.)
- Let's apply Proverbs 30:6 to the age of the earth.
Does the Bible clearly reveal the age of the earth?
(I don't think so. Genesis 1:2 tells us that
something existed prior to God's creation week.
Genesis 1:12 tells us that God created mature plants
and trees - meaning that they were created with an
age. I don't think, although I'm not sure, that
serious Bible students believe the Bible genealogies
are complete and intended to be a way of dating the
earth. This may be an area where if we "add to God's
words" we will prove to be liars.)
- What is Agur's practical message here? (There are
many things God has not revealed to us. Don't start
asserting things that God has not clearly revealed -
and then get embarrassed when you are proven wrong.)
- What has this to do with humility? (Pay attention to
what you don't know, and confess when you don't know,
instead of making stuff up.)
- When you think of Agur's words, what does this teach
us about our relationship to God? (God is our point
of reference. We should be humble when compared to
- When we start making up stuff, and claim it is
right because we are Christians, whose
reputation suffers? (We claim to speak on
behalf of God! God says, "Whoa, there, don't
make stuff up in My Name!")
- The Advantage of Humility
- Read Proverbs 30:7-8. A common term in the United States
is "bucket list." It means the list of things you want to
do before you die. For example, it might be "see the Grand
Canyon," or "go sky-diving." I'm not sure I have anything
in my "bucket," but Agur has two thing in his bucket. What
are they? (Be true and honest. Be "middle of the road"
when it comes to money.)
- I understand the goal of honesty, buy why look for
average when it comes to wealth?
- Read Proverbs 30:9. Here is the answer about making
average the goal. What are the problems with wealth and
poverty? (The problem with wealth is that you depend on it
instead of God. You "disown" God. The problem with
poverty is that you are tempted to steal - and God does
not condone stealing even when you are poor.)
- Read Proverbs 30:10. What does this have to do with
humility? (Why would you criticize another employee? Might
it be to make you look better to the boss? If so, that is
a humility problem.)
- Who is cursing you here? (The other employee!)
- Read Proverbs 30:11-12. How many people blame their
parents for the problems in their lives?
- Who should bear the blame in these verses? (The child
has "filth," but thinks that he is "pure." This
suggests the child is not thinking realistically
about his parents or himself.)
- Read Proverbs 30:13-14. What are the real problems in this
child's life? (Pride and cutting words. This is not a nice
- Who is victimized by this wicked person? (The poor
- Why pick on the poor and needy? (They seem
- Read Proverbs 30:15-16. Have we reversed course? Is Agur
now talking about the failure of the poor? If not, who is
the "leech" and her daughters? (They are people who want
you to give to them.)
- Why does Agur go next to the list of things "that are
never satisfied?" (It suggests a class of people who
are leeches - they want you to give to them and they
are never satisfied.)
- If Agur intended to make a point about some people,
why did he refer to inanimate things like fire, water
and the grave? (Perhaps he is saying that is the
nature of some people. Perhaps he is saying that is
the nature of some problems - they are never solved
- Has this "never satisfied" group something to
do with humility? (A sense of entitlement is a
- Read Proverbs 30:20. Why throw in the part about eating?
(It shows that this lady is very casual about what she has
- How would you apply the lessons on humility here?
(Just like the wicked child who blamed his parents,
yet was "pure" in his own eyes, the adulteress has a
false pride that she has done nothing wrong.)
- Read Proverbs 30:32-33. At what point should we address
pride? (The battle is in the mind. We need to stop our
pride there (clap your hand over your mouth) and not let
it escape our lips and produce strife.)
- Friend, how much of an issue is pride in your life? Why
not ask the Holy Spirit right now to help you "clap your
hand over your mouth?"
- Next week: Women and Wine.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.