Proverbs 30:1-5 (ESV)
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
 Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!
 Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
The older I get the less I know. Or perhaps more correctly, the older I get the more that I know that there is more that I don’t know than what I do know. Hmmm, that sounds convoluted, but I think it is true. That seems to be the mindset of the author of this chapter in Proverbs. “”I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One” (Prov 30:2-3).
I recall as a young preacher thinking that I had learned so much and that I had such a clear understanding of the scriptures, of God, his ways, and the world. I was puzzled by older men of God who seemed to be always learning and discovering new truth. I expected that if I had it all figured out, they must have figured it all out years ago. But now I see that the observation of Solomon in Ecclesiastes is correct. There seems to be no end to learning.
In my youth I thought I knew so much. Youth knows everything there is to know about everything. Wisdom recognizes one’s own lack of knowledge and understanding. The arrogance of thinking one knows much lends itself to selfishness. Selfishness lends itself to injustice, greed, and even violence. Wisdom recognizes that there are two sides to every story. Wisdom realizes that life is not about me. Wisdom has learned to acknowledge what it does not know.
Wisdom appreciates more and more the inscrutable and unknowable reality of God. We can know him, but we can never know him. To know him is life and we can know him through Jesus Christ, yet there is a balancing truth to that. How can a fallible and finite individual ever really know an infallible and infinite being. Only God knows fully? Thus Proverbs challenges us, “Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” (Prov 30:4).
It is only when we realize how much we do not know that we can begin to enter into the wisdom of God. It is only when we acknowledge that we have much to learn that we will not be threatened by those who are different from us. It is only when we recognize our own foolishness that we can begin to enter into the wisdom of God. That takes humility. Thus the chapter ends, “If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife” (Prov 30:32-33). Our own arrogance keeps us from learning the wisdom of God that goes far beyond our ability to know and comprehend. It all starts with humility. I know that there is so much that I do not yet know.