“The leech has two daughters—Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, ‘Enough!’ The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water—and the fire never says, ‘Enough!’” Proverbs 30:15–16

I hate anything that wants to suck my blood! Ticks, mosquitoes, and leeches seek out the unguarded moment to attach themselves for a meal at my expense. I have never met a leech that I did not loathe, a mosquito that I did not seek its destruction, or a tick that I did not think of creative ways to dispose of. The pure nature of the problem is they want something at my expense and their very nature does not admit for any type of reform. None of them will ever be domesticated.

Agur’s words instruct us about our fallen state. Part of the price of the fall is the natural tendency toward dissatisfaction. In a negative sense, dissatisfaction appears as greed. Agur’s words paint a picture of greed’s nature and illustrate its powerful grip that it has on every son of Adam. He provides five illustrations:

  • The first is the leech. This wormy denizen of fresh water hangs out around rotting wood and lake bottom muck seeking out its next blood meal, attaching itself to its host. One leech is one too many, but this one has two daughters—now there are three! Where one may have been trouble enough, now there exist even more mouths crying to be fed at your expense! How apt a description for the occasions we give in to our own lust! What once seemed controlled now controls and what once seemed to be a curiosity now becomes a plague. Such is the nature of sin and greed.
  • The grave is the next illustration. Sin consumes like rust and like death. There are signs as we age that we do not live forever. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a day in your lifetime that there were no deaths and no graves to dig to fill with someone’s loved one? That reality will be here someday because of the work of our Savior and His empty grave is the guarantee for all who have come to Christ. But for right now, the grave never says, “Enough.” The grave pictures the fact that the lust of greed can never be filled. You are in its sights and it has secret plans for you.
  • The barren womb points out the tragedy of empty arms and illustrates the attention that greed demands of us. A woman who has yearned for, and been denied the opportunity to give birth to, her own child can be so consumed with that desire that nothing else matters, that nothing else defines her, and that no one else has ever felt exactly as she does. The void will remain with her for the rest of her life.
  • The thirsty earth illustrates the constant irrigation required of the farmer. He dare not go away during growing season for fear that his absence will cost him his whole crop. You may water enough for today, and perhaps tomorrow, but not much beyond. Greed is like the thirsty earth because, though you may have greed under control today, there is always tomorrow. Vigilance is required or you lose your whole crop of diligent self-control.
  • The ravenous fire pictures the fact that fire consumes and its fuel is no more, it rages and leaves nothing but char and ash. A fire is voracious enough when it is in its place but the nature of fire is to constantly seek a way to escape the hearth. When it does the results are nothing short of catastrophic. Greed never says “Enough,” “I will not cost you one more penny,” “I am satisfied,” “I will stop,” or “I will make no more demands of you.” Greed is bound in our nature and is evident from our first hungry cry. (Ecclesiastes 4:8, 5:10)

Praise the Lord that in Christ He has granted the solution to all our greed. In His Son’s death the grave is satisfied, the barren womb is never a burden carried alone, real wealth is kept in God’s safe deposit box, and you are snatched from the threatening eternal fire because He has paid our ransom with His own blood. 1 John 2:1f, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

When our sins’ debt is satisfied through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are granted spiritual perspective and gain the key to satisfaction in life. Psalm 17:15 begins to take center stage in every deliberation, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

Because of greed, not many people ever know satisfaction, fewer discover a source of steady satisfaction, fewer still find multiple sources of real satisfaction, and it is exceptional if one should find multiple sources of real, lasting satisfaction. First, what really satisfies only comes from discovery. Second, you have to live a while before you begin to understand the concept of real satisfaction. Third, honest answers to what provides the greatest satisfaction in life will only come from the people who really care about you. Finally, know that only the things God talks about in the Bible are the things that you will discover provide real and lasting satisfaction! Trust and obey.