I. THE EXAMPLES.
1. The slave in authority. (Ver. 22.) The inversion of objects is intolerable to the trained eye; things standing upside down, etc. So in social relations and in political Government belongs to the wise and the strong; the feeble in mind and the narrow in heart are emphatically the wrong men in the wrong place, in seats of power.
2. The self-satisfied fool. His fatuous smile is a satire upon himself and upon the condition of things which permits him to bask in so fantastic a paradise. Those are sights to make the "angels weep."
3. The ill-tempered wife. (Ver. 23.) She, again, is emphatically "out of place." For home, in any sweet sense, is the place which woman's presence makes a delight.
4. The ambitious maidservant. The effort to supplant, to grasp a place beyond one's rights and deserts, hurts our intuitive perceptions of what is right. An Oriental proverb says, "Sit in your place, and none shall make you rise," on which we have a pointed commentary from Christ in Luke 14:11, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
II. THE GENERAL LESSONS. Order and rank are Divine institutions. To overturn this is no work of the true reformer or friend of the social weal. Rule rests ultimately upon ability to rule; government, upon power; authority, upon wisdom. When these relations are actually reversed, society is disturbed, matters are unhappy. When they only seem to be reversed, there will be distress and discomfort in right minds, until the just order and the nominal state of things shall be restored. - J.
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
I. A SENSE OF INFERIORITY MUST NOT KEEP US BACK FROM FAITH IN GOD. If we have to say what Agur said, let us also trust as Agur trusted. Some say, "We cannot hope to be saved, because we cannot reach the heights of other men." They are discouraged by the piety that some believers have attained. But they see these good people at their best, and they see in them the results of their faith. Some are hindered because they cannot feel such convictions of sins, etc., as other men. But our wisdom is to leave our experience with the Lord, who will appoint us sun or shade, as best will suit our growth. Seek not to copy another man's ups or downs; but wait on God, and put thy trust in Him, even though thou shouldst seem to thyself to be more foolish than any other living man.
II. A SENSE OF INFERIORITY MUST NOT KEEP US FROM LEARNING. If you have not the understanding of a man, there is so much more cause that you should go to school to the Holy Spirit, till the eyes of your understanding shall be enlightened, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Vital truth is simple. These things of heavenly learning are revealed to babes. The Holy Ghost is a great teacher. The sense of ignorance is a very good beginning for a learner. The doorstep of the palace of Wisdom is a humble sense of ignorance.
III. A SENSE OF INFERIORITY MUST NOT KEEP US BACK FROM SERVING GOD. The Lord loves to use tools that are not rusted with self-conceit. God can use inferior persons for grand purposes. He has often done so. His greatest victories were won by a hammer and a tent-pin, by an ox-goad, by the jawbone of an ass, by a sling and stone, and such like. His greatest prophets at the first tried to excuse themselves on the ground of unfitness. The Lord does not expect of you more than you can do: it is accepted if it be according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not. If you can do but little, make the best of yourself by intensity and by perseverance. Make up by spiritual force what you lack in natural ability. You that cannot do very much, take care never to lose an opportunity.
IV. A SENSE OF INFERIORITY MUST NOT HINDER OUR JOY IN THE LORD. If you feel that you are more brutish than anybody else, yet believe in God up to the hilt; believe in Him, and trust Him with all your heart, and then feel all the more gratitude that He should have loved such a worthless one as you. Glorify God by your very weakness. Glory in your infirmity.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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