Proverbs 30:4a

Who is Like God?

Introduction:

1. Chapter 30 (or at least the beginning of it) is attributed to “Agur” – an unknown author.

2. He introduces himself by stating that he was more brutish (dull; ignorant) than any man and that he lacked understanding.

3. He was acknowledging that he knows nothing about God or spiritual things from his own understanding. He is totally dependent upon the Lord for that. He understood that true wisdom comes down from above – from God.

4. He saw himself as the bottom of the barrel. He saw himself as nothing special.

5. At the end of verse three, he states that he does not have any special wisdom in himself, nor does he have any special knowledge of “the Holy” or “the Holy One,” namely, God.

6. This acknowledgement is actually the beginning of true wisdom: humility before God… humbling of self before the Almighty.

7. These words concerning his own personal self-abasement are followed by a natural corollary: an exaltation of God.

a. He exalts the Lord in vs. 5 by means of a series of rhetorical questions.

b. The first four all have the same answer: God.

Four Questions About the Lord

1. 4a Who hath ascended up into heaven or descended?

a. The obvious answer is God.

b. Of course, Enoch and Elijah ascended into heaven. But they did not do so on their own. They did not “will” themselves into heaven. It was the Lord who was behind that.

c. Psalm 103:20 – Angels also ascended into heaven, but they too did so at God’s command.

d. The Angel of the Lord also descended to earth and then ascended into heaven. However, that Angel was the Lord – a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ the Lord.

e. To the Old Testament saints, the answer to this question might have been a mystery. Who did Agur really mean? Who is the One who descended down from heaven and ascended back up to heaven?

f. John 3:13 – The Lord Jesus answered that question with finality. It was HE who descended and then ascended!
• No man (or angel) hath done it but He alone.
• Christ did so at His own prerogative… of His own volition.
• Elijah or the angels did so at God’s command and by God’s power.
• Christ had the ability and sovereign right to do so Himself.
• Gen. 28:12 – “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
» The ladder was an illustration of the “means” angels used to get from heaven to earth and back.
» In the Old Testament, angels descended to earth on a mission for God to communicate truth or minister to men. Then they ascended back up to heaven.
» The holy angels act at God’s command.
• John 1:51 – Christ told Nathaniel that he would see angels ascending and descending upon the “Son of Man.” Jacob saw the angels ascending upon a Ladder. Later they would be seen ascending upon the Son of Man, Christ. Christ was the true “ladder” or channel of communication between heaven and earth.
• Even though angels descended to earth and ascended to heaven, they did so because of Christ – the Son of Man.
• John 3:13 – “No man (nothing – no man or angel) hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man.” Only Christ can do that on His own.

g. Agur’s question was finally and definitively answered: the Lord – and in particular, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. 4a Who hath gathered the wind in His fists?

a. The second question asks who has the power to sovereignly control the wind?

b. Again, the answer is the Lord. God, as Creator and Sovereign, controls the wind.

c. Rev. 7:1 – John speaks of four angels holding the four winds of the earth and controlling whether they blow or not.
• But as you read through the book of Revelation, it is the Lord who is in control of all events.
• He opens the seals and trumpets and pours out the bowl judgments.
• Rev. 9:13-14 – God orders these angels to act: what to do and when to do it.
• Angels act at God’s command.

d. The Lord sovereignly and providentially controls the winds.
• He controls the winds that bring a refreshing cool breeze.
• He controls the winds that result in tornados and hurricanes.
• He controls the winds that carry the rains and spread seeds and sail ships.
• The scientist will scoff at this. They see only natural causes for everything (heating and cooling of the atmosphere).
• The Christian does not deny the “natural causes” that affect the winds. However, it is the Lord who controls those “natural” causes too. He is the One who created the sun and sends out the warmth. The Creator controls and sustains every detail of His creation.

3. 4a Who hath bound the waters in a garment?

a. This question relates to the waters on the earth. It suggests that the waters are “bound.”

b. Bound: Wrapped up; tied up; fastened in place; stored up.

c. In other words, the waters (lakes, oceans, seas) have been put in place, and they have boundaries that are being “kept” or bound up… kept in their place.

d. The use of such a term (bound) indicates the author THINKS in terms of God’s providential control.

e. Agur may have had in mind a time when God had the waters above the earth “bound” up as a vapor canopy to provide mild, calm, comfortable weather worldwide.

f. Job 12:15 – “Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.” Here Job speaks of God’s sovereign control of the waters. He either sends them out or holds them back.

g. The flood in the days of Noah illustrates how God had “bound” the waters above the earth and held them there; and then He sovereignly “released” them upon the earth resulting in a worldwide flood.

h. Henry Morris noted that there is enough water on the earth today, that if the mountains were leveled and the earth’s surface was flattened, that water could cover the earth again.

i. Gen. 9:11 – Thankfully, God has promised that He will not flood the whole earth again.

j. Psalm 104:8 – “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. 9Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.”

k. Solomon also spoke of God’s wisdom as having set the boundaries for the waters. (Prov. 8:28-29) “When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth.”

l. Agur’s question was “Who hath bound the waters?” The answer is the LORD.

4. 4a Who hath established all the ends of the earth?

a. Once again, the obvious answer is the LORD.

b. Agur’s questions implied so far that God sovereignly controls the winds and the waters. Now he implies that God controls the land masses as well.

c. Established: To make firm; to cause to stand; to lift up; to establish.

d. In other words, who put the all the land masses in their place?

e. You don’t have to read very far in the Bible to find out the answer to this question.

f. Gen. 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

g. Isa. 48:13 – “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” God answers this one Himself. “My hand did it!”

h. God set the bounds of the waters; He set the bounds of the land masses (continents) too.

5. These questions force his readers to think about the greatness, sovereignty, and omnipotence of God.

a. It forces us to think of Him as being exalted above all… Sovereign Lord of the universe and every detail in the universe.

b. In verses 2-3 Agur acknowledged his ignorance and weakness. Now he acknowledges God’s wisdom and sovereign power.

c. And what an incredible contrast between our ignorance and weakness and God’s omniscience and omnipotence!

d. For the believer, abasing self and exalting God go together—always.

e. His questions are reminiscent of the questions in Job 38-39, only in Job, it was the Lord asking the questions… forcing Job to think about how infinite in power and wisdom God really is.

f. The rhetorical questions God asked Job focused on who God is—and put Job in his place.

g. Job 38:4-6 – “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof…?”

h. Agur’s questions are also similar to those raised by the prophet in Isa. 40:12-21.

i. The point in each instance is that when we really focus on who God is, and it sinks in, then it puts us in our place. We all would have to say with Agur, “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.”

j. The complaints end. The questions end.

k. We can put all of our worries aside and realize that God is in control. Our troubles and tribulations don’t seem so big and insurmountable after all.

l. And therefore we don’t have to worry. We can rest in Him and trust in Him. After all, He’s God. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.