1. What four things are unbearable on earth?
“(21) For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: (22) For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; (23) For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress” (Proverbs 30:21-23).
- Servants are not supposed to be in authority (Proverbs 19:10). A lesson here for us is, we are servants and must keep our place (Luke 17:7-10, I Corinthians 9:16, I Corinthians 15:9, and I Peter 5:5-6).
- It makes no sense when a fool is well to do (Ecclesiastes 4:4-6; cf. Proverbs 6:10-11). Wisdom is the principal thing (Proverbs 4:7), wherein fools normally enjoy making bad decisions (Proverbs 10:23).
- Who in their right mind wants to marry a hateful woman (Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 21:19, and Proverbs 27:15)?
- The servant maid should never be left to inherit the female lead in the home when the mistress is gone. Consider, for discussion, what harm was caused when Sarah erred in wanting Hagar to give Abraham a child (Genesis 16:1-16).
2. What four things are wise, but are little upon the earth?
“(24) There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: (25) The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; (26) The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; (27) The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; (28) The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces” (Proverbs 30:24-28).
- For one, wisdom does not abound in this world (I Corinthians 3:18-19).
- It does not take physical strength to get things done (Proverbs 21:22, Proverbs 24:5, Ecclesiastes 7:19, and Ecclesiastes 9:13-18). We can learn some valuable things from ants (Proverbs 6:6-11).
- Conies [rock rabbits or rock badgers] build their habitations in safe places (Psalms 104:18). Safety can come through wise decisions rather than just physical strength (Matthew 7:24-27). Physical defenses do not guarantee anything (Isaiah 36:1).
- The locusts, without one leader keeping them in line, stick together (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
- A spider, without an army, can find it’s way even into the king’s palaces. Joseph (Genesis 41:15-41) and Esther (Esther 5:1-6, Esther 7:1-3, and Esther 8:7) were able to prevail behind enemy lines through wisdom rather than force.
3. What four things are comely in going?
“(29) There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: (30) A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; (31) A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up” (Proverbs 30:29-31).
- Lions, greyhounds, and goats, when set on eating, don’t turn back (Numbers 23:24). Lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God (Psalms 104:21). Strong kings can be vicious (Proverbs 16:14 and Proverbs 20:2).
- We supposed to be bold as lions (Proverbs 28:1).
- We too should not turn away from our goal for anything (Luke 9:62, Luke 17:32, Hebrews 10:38, and II Peter 2:20-22).
4. When should you lay your hand upon your mouth?
Lifting yourself up or thinking evil: “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth” (Proverbs 30:32).
- It’s not good to lift yourself up (Proverbs 26:12, Proverbs 29:23, Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 2:17, Isaiah 5:15-16, and Matthew 23:12).
- We have to control our thoughts (Romans 12:1-3 and II Corinthians 10:5; cf. Proverbs 24:9).
- When your thoughts aren’t good, shut up (Job 40:1-4 and Proverbs 17:27-28).
- That which comes out of your mouth shows what is on your mind (Matthew 12:34-37 and Matthew 15:18-20).
- Wise people control the tongue (Proverbs 15:2, Proverbs 15:28, Ecclesiastes 5:2, Colossians 4:6, and James 3:1-17).
5. What can be expected if you force wrath?
Strife: “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33).
- Proverbs 15:18, Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 17:14, Proverbs 26:21, and Proverbs 29:22.