“I have not gained wisdom, and I have no knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His hands? Who has bound up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His Son — if you know?”
Have you ever tried to describe God to someone? If so, how did you do it? If you’re like me, this is a difficult task. I can’t even describe him to myself.
Chapter 30 of Proverbs features the sayings of a wise man named Agur. (While some Bible scholars believe Agur is another name for Solomon, there are many who believe he was another wise man at that time, since the writing style of Chapter 30 is much different than that found in the rest of Proverbs.) As Agur begins this chapter, he notes in verses 2 and 3 that he does not have the wisdom of God and then he questions his two students, Ithiel and Ucal, (Proverbs 30:1) if they can name any person who has this wisdom.
Of course, the questions in verse 4 are rhetorical because no human can truly understand God, our Creator. God is infinite, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent… all things that we are not. Therefore, how can we wrap our heads around the idea that God has no beginning and no end? That he is not bound by time or space?That he can know everyone’s thoughts – past, present and future? That he created the universe and everything in it?
The only time we can begin to understand God is when we he grants us wisdom through his word. The Bible gives us glimpses into God’s character. For example, we see God’s sense of compassion when he talks to Hagar in the desert (Genesis 21:17-20 ). We see his sense of justice when he allows enemies to capture the Israelites after they’ve repeatedly turned their backs on him. We see God’s love for his people when he sends his only son to die on a cross so that they could be forgiven (John 3:16). These are just a few of the characteristics of God. To define him completely would be impossible.
Agur describes the greatness of God in Proverbs 30, just as Job did in Job 38:4-11. This poetic passage in Job richly illustrates the true magnitude of God’s majesty as Creator, something we can never fully comprehend. This is what Agur wanted to convey to his students, and to us.
Even though we can never fully understand God, he does allow us to see facets of his character so that we can be more like him. This is most evident through his son, Jesus. As you read your Bible this year, make a list of the characteristics of God and challenge yourself to learn to live like Jesus.