Self-Awareness 101

Don Ellsworth

 

This week, Time With God is finishing our study of the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 | Proverbs 30

Getting Started

I think the best two people you should get to know well are God and yourself. The importance of knowing God is a no-brainer. But the value of self-awareness goes well beyond a self-absorbed preoccupation of self, to an understanding of human nature and the inherent disconnect between our personal sin and God’s holiness. And with that understanding comes a humility which affects both our relationship with God in worship, and also how we live our lives with each other. Today’s passage gives great direction to properly understand ourselves in relation to God.

  • As you read this passage, ask the Lord to give you a healthy and balanced view of who you are in relation to God.

Read the Word

Proverbs 30 (ESV)

30:1 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.

The man declares, I am weary, O God;
    I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
    I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up 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?
    Surely you know!

Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.

10 Do not slander a servant to his master,
    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.

11 There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12 There are those who are clean in their own eyes
    but are not washed of their filth.
13 There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
    how high their eyelids lift!
14 There are those whose teeth are swords,
    whose fangs are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mankind.

15 The leech has two daughters:
    Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
    the land never satisfied with water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

17 The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.

18 Three things are too wonderful for me;
    four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a virgin.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

21 Under three things the earth trembles;
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is filled with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.

24 Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings' palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their tread;
    four are stately in their stride:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
    and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
    and a king whose army is with him.

32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    put your hand on your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curds,
    pressing the nose produces blood,
    and pressing anger produces strife.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Digging Deeper

(Today’s questions focus on verses 1-9.)

  1. Who are the two individuals in verses 1-3? How does Agur’s understanding of himself (vss. 2-3) lead him to a proper view of God (vss. 4-6)?
  2. A proper and reverent view of God often comes out of seasons of hurt and pain. Verse 4 sounds very similar to Job 38-39 and the questions God asked Job during the pain in his life. What can we learn from verses 4-6 which will help bring comfort to our chaotic or hurting lives? What can we learn to help steer our goals and desires in life?
  3. From verses 7-8, what is the significance of the two things for which Agur asks (in light of verses 4-6)? How does his second request in verses 8b-9 affect your thinking in today’s time and culture?
  4. These words of Agur do not come from a man who is young in his faith and without refinement in his life. What qualities do you see in Agur based on his requests in verses 7-8? How has God used situations in your life to refine you, and to make your view of God clearer and more precious?

Respond to God

What a great passage! A conversation starting with incredible honesty before God—moving past self-deprecation to self-loathing. But from his disgust, he quickly sees the bigness of God’s character and practically starts his own worship service. And, better yet, he redirects his life based on his deeper understanding of who God is. Don’t get stuck thinking poorly of yourself, but let those thoughts help you appreciate who God is. Self-awareness is important, but only to the degree that we live in dependence on the One who can truly direct our steps.

  • Ask the Lord to help you see yourself clearly, in light of who he is.

Questions or Comments