October 11th 2018 – Proverbs 30:5-9

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.

Proverbs 30:5-9

In 5ff, we are given the answer to the questions raised in 4: revelation in and through the Word. There is a word from God to answer these age-old questions. Since that word is true (literally, 'refined', and therefore 'proved true', RSV), it is utterly to be trusted: it offers complete protection (5b), because it brings us into contact (and fellowship) with Him who speaks it, it is this that is the final answer to the sense of nothingness that the mystery of life brings upon us (2-4). Another consequence of the 'refinedness' of God's word is seen in 6: it cannot be added to. This means that the revelation is complete. This underlines an important consideration for us: there is no such thing as new revelation, and anything that claims to be such must be banded as heresy. New light and illumination can come on what has been revealed, and this is a constant factor, but this is not the same as new revelation. And every new illumination and insight must therefore he brought into the touchstone of what has once for all been revealed; if it is at odds with that, it is false and spurious. 7-9 seem to follow in sequence upon what has been already said: this is what the discipline of the Word is meant to, and should, produce in us, the impact of revelation upon a man's life. It is a prayer about character (8a), and the circumstances that endanger character (8b, 9). A similar sort of prayer is seen in 1 Chronicles 4:10 (cf also Paul in Philippians 4:11, 12). On the one hand, there is the yearning to be delivered from iniquity - 'before I die' (cf Romans 8:23, 'groaning, waiting for the adoption'); on the other hand, the desire for a right attitude to temporal things: since sin is still a reality in the believer's life, and a power to be reckoned with, he dare not expose himself too much temptation. Abject poverty and unlimited affluence both alike prove dangerous to the life of the spirit. Here is grass-roots realism indeed!