“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” – Proverbs 30:5-6 (NASB)
These are “the words of Agur the son of Jakeh the oracle.” We can only suggest that Agur was an otherwise unknown sage who could have been a student or teacher of wisdom at the time of Solomon. The words are identified as an oracle which was often used of the words of a prophet. The verses or proverbs we’ve selected compare the certainty of God’s revelation and the uncertainty of our speculation of what God’s words mean. Stating that every word of God is ‘tested’ is literally translated ‘tried’ in verse 5. The same teaching comes to us in Psalm 12:6 “The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” Proverbs 30:6 delivers a powerful affirmation on the inspired nature of God’s canonical Word to Israel. To add to or subtract from God’s Word is to deny God as the standard of truth. The same instruction and warning are given in Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32. It is a first and frequent practice of false teachers to modify the words of God. The Bible concludes with the warning again in Revelation 22:18-19 with a more dire warning.
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” – Proverbs 9:8-9 (ESV)
A worthy saying is, “Be carful to pick your battles.” This applies to us in so many ways. Whom do we know that needs some help or instruction in how to cope with the many challenges of life? We all make mistakes due to our ignorance or lack of understanding. Thus we all need help to learn better ways to manage. Certainly there are many that might come to mind. When they do, it is a smart thing to consider who we might reprimand for their own good as well as others. Will they receive the correction or reproof or will their reply be only to scoff and jeer? There is a danger in trying to reprove a wicked person and we might be better forgoing the effort. Yet, for those who are wise our effort to help might be appreciated and they thank us. Plus when we’re receiving such instruction from a brother or sister we can know that it will improve our life⸺if we take it to heart. Don’t we desire to be wise and righteous even when receiving correction? Such correction will only lead to our better understanding and from it we gain more wisdom.
“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” – Hebrews 12:7 (NASB)
Discipline is a two-way street. Every true believer in Jesus receives opportunity to grow through the discipline God sends our way and thrive in spiritual growth, stronger faith, and increasing knowledge of God. Other’s buck against it and end up going the other way. They refuse to learn the lessons God gives them, causing them to miss the blessing and benefit. In times of adversity, says the author of Hebrews, keep in mind that all our setbacks come from God; He is training us in godliness because He has accepted us as sons and daughters in His eternal family. He wants the very best for us. The difficulties we encounter are blessings in disguise, for behind our difficulties stands a loving Father who is giving us what is best. As God’s children, then, we must always look beyond our trials and realize that God himself is at work in their lives training us to trust Him. Discipline that reproves teaches us to have character that is disciplined. It is a sign of God’s parentage of us. It is a confirmation God really loves us for whom He loves, He reproves and discipline. When disciplined, let’s repent and be zealous.