30 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
There are two types of righteousness: God’s and self-righteousness. Likewise, there are two types of justification: God’s and self-justification. It is our carnal human nature that tries to justify its thoughts and deeds before God and man.
Agur did not try to justify himself. Rather, he showed his humility, even to the point of acknowledging his weaknesses (in later verses, he asks to not be either too rich or too poor, lest money become a snare to him).
32 If you are foolishly bragging
or planning something evil,
then stop it now!
Agur realized that exalting one’s self is foolish.
1 I will exalt You, Lord,
because You have lifted me up
and have not allowed my enemies
to triumph over me.
David waited for God to lift him up, to exalt him.
Christ came and paid the penalty for our sins. That should be our justification. Nothing we can say or do will make us justified. We can play the victim, or we can acknowledge that we too are “brutish”, like wild animals in thought and deed.
However, people do like to justify themselves, don’t they? Is there any word picture that says it best than the following verse?
20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’
Or, perhaps even:
20 An unfaithful wife says,
“Sleeping with another man
is as natural as eating.”