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! (Proverbs 30:4b ESV)
For millennia, the impending doom of death has haunted many people. Some of gone through great lengths to avoid it while others tend to ignore it. In their quest for knowledge of the future, some people wish to know the day of their own death. Very few, however, attain this insight. The deathbed, or winding down of one’s earthly existence, is often seen as a place of misery and sorrow. But, we must also consider it a place of mercy. Why? Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to still be alive and yet see death in the near future and thus contemplate about the big issues of life. Instead, many are taken into eternity without any warning.
In Proverbs chapter 30, we encounter a man who is coming to the end of his life. He indicates in verse 1 that he was very weary, and he asks for some final requests in verse 7 before his death. Admittedly, we know very little about this man, Agur, and we can’t be sure how close he was to his actual death. However, we know that he tried to attain the wisdom spoken of in Proverbs, and as he thinks about the end, he takes inventory. We the readers are blessed to read his account, for it sets in order the priorities of life. In fact, it helps us see the most important thing about being human at the end of the day – to know God!
Agur, at the end of his life, is not concerned with things of the world. His biggest concern is that he knows God. He’s not interested in “poverty nor riches” (v8), but the knowledge of the Holy One. In fact, he repudiates anything that would cause him to deny God.
Agur also exhorts us to look to God’s word. This is not a man who believed one has to wait until death to get to know God; in fact, this passage indicates that Agur looked for wisdom in the wrong places. He then directs us to where it is found – “every word of God proves true” (v5). Nearing the end of his life, Agur realizes that the most important thing is to know God, and the primary source of that knowledge is God’s word. May that request define our lives as well, but may we not wait until the end of our lives to realize it.