12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth, the needy from among mankind.
Yesterday we studied the need for being cleansed, the person Who could cleanse us, and the process by which we could experience cleansing.
Today we'll look at these four things that Agur mentions, that are stains on us, like spots on a counter top.
First, not showing respect for our parents. This doesn't just cover the outward things, like talking back and being disrespectful. It covers the sneaky, insidious things, too. The disrespectful thoughts, or (God forbid) the cheating of elderly and incapacitated parents. Many today think nothing of that, and while I don't think any of our study friends would do that, it may be that our thought lives are not as kind or gracious as they should be. And granted, as our parents age, it may be difficult to have grace in the situations that are presented to us, but the Word does tell us in the Old Testament it was serious business:
“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death. Exodus 21:17
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, Proverbs 1:8And in the New Testament:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3Next we are warned not to have a wrong attitude about sin. "Pure in their own eyes" is the way it's put in verse 12. We covered this pretty well yesterday -- all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of our Father.
Verse 13 talks about being "high and mighty" as my grandma would have said. Pride and arrogance are contrary to our walk; if we follow Christ's example and strive to be godly, these need to be rooted out.
"Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. I Samuel 2:3Are our eyes "haughty" or our glances "disdainful"? Or do we humble ourselves and ask God how we can serve others?
Lastly, verse 14 speaks of cruelty, specifically the cruelty meted out by our mouths -- it mentions teeth and jaws . . . ever heard the phrase, "chewed him (or her) up and spit 'em out"? Rather graphic, but it denotes a severe and harsh treatment; it speaks of a cruelty that should not be part of our lives.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29The last two days' study have caused some of us to get out the bandaids, haven't they? God's Word truly is "for reproof, for correction, and for training . . ."