The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal:
Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And do not have the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom
Nor have knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
I usually use the New King James version, but what brought my attention to this passage was the ESV. In the ESV “this man declared to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal” is translated as “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.”
Since I have the special convenience of being related by marriage to a Hebrew scholar, I texted him asking him to explain this oddity. Apparently in the Hebrew names are sometimes regular vocabulary words and aren’t capitalized. And then sometimes there aren’t spaces between them, and in general it can be hard to tell if you are talking about being weary and worn out or if you are talking about Ithiel and Ucal. He thought without looking too deeply that he would side with the NKJV, but I like the ESV for the fact that the thought progression is very familiar to me.
So let us just imagine for a moment that this chapter, instead of being written by Agur son of Jakeh was a little something thrown out by a tired woman somewhere. All the sudden the progression from being tired and worn out to feeling stupid makes more sense to me. That is a little something that many of us do every day. Or at least bi-weekly.
This foundation of weariness is a common one. We are busy, we are tired, we are stretched out. We are wanting to throw in the towel. We wonder why we are doing all this stuff anyways. I like verse 3 especially. “Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.” Does this sound familiar at all? Have you ever felt too stupid to be a mom? Too stupid to be a wife? Too stupid to be a person?
When we are working hard and being faithful, there will be times when we are so flat out tired and exhausted. And that is good. Being tired to the point of stupidity is not a sin. In fact, it is often a component of faithfulness. What I love about this passage is that it gives us an example of how to respond to that low down feeling. Look to God. The passage turns to repeating a number of the mighty works God. We might be tired and stupid, but He is not.
“Who has gathered the wind in his fists?… What is His name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” But the real centerpiece of this passage is what comes at the end
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Take refuge in the word of God, because He is a shield for you. A shield from all of the tired, all of the worry, all of the stress, all of the indifference. Every word proves true. Take refuge in it. It is our shield. Proverbs 18:10 also reflects this sentiment,”The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”
Right after this reminder is a warning: Do not add to it. His word is sufficient to shield you. Do not try to protect yourself, or build a shield out of your own smarts. The word of God is sufficient, and do not add to it. Who is it who made you with His words? Who threw the stars into the heavens with His words? Who has established the ends of the earth with His words? Take refuge in His words, and it will always prove sufficient.