Bible Reading: Proverbs 30:1-33
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God” [Proverbs 30:8-9]
God’s daily provision should be enough for us! In the wilderness He provided manna each day, and there was enough for everyone. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread” [Matthew 6:11]. David wrote, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread” [Psalm 37:25]
In our text today, a man called Agur is praying and asking two favours of God: that God will help him not to lie, and that God will not give him too much or too little! It is not sinful to be rich [Proverbs 3:9-10,15-16; 10:15,22] or poor [Proverbs 11:24; 28:27; 29:7,14], but Agur wisely wants to avoid the pitfalls of both wealth and poverty.
Someone has said that poverty can be a result of circumstances, but it can also be a result of sinful attitudes and actions in a person’s life. In Proverbs seven reasons are given for material poverty – laziness [6:9-11; 10:4-5; 14:23; 20:13]; stinginess [11:24]; failure to trust God [11:28]; an undisciplined life [13:18]; injustice [13:23] – especially to the poor [22:16; 22:22-23]; foolishness [17:6; 21:17] – especially chasing fantasies [28:19] and spending money on illicit sex [6:26]; lack of planning and acting hastily [21:5]. The reason poverty can be hazardous to spiritual life is because of the temptation to be envious or to steal, and in doing so to dishonour God.
Moses made it clear that because of wealth Israel would forget God when their food was plentiful and their herds large [Deut. 8:12-17; 31:20]. Abundance tempts people to feel self-sufficient. Isn’t it amazing how we cry out to God in our need, but often forget God when we have sufficient! The poor are tempted to dishonour God and the rich tempted to forget God – no wonder Agur says better to be neither rich nor poor.
Would you pray the prayer of Agur, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread”? What difference would this make to your present lifestyle?
Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19. According to Paul, what should be the right attitude of those who God has blessed with abundance?
See Philippians 4:12 and 1 Timothy 1:6,8. What do these verses say about being content?