Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: 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 dishonor the name of my God. Proverbs 30: 7-9
One of the great mysteries of life might be why some live in such extreme poverty, others in abundant wealth, and most live comfortably with all they need. Yet, our mindset in all our abundance seems to be the desire for more.
I think we have all played the game of what we would do if we won the million dollar lottery, or what we would ask for if we could have any 3 wishes. But imagine if we had the opportunity to ask God for any 2 things, what would they be? Would we ask that He give us good health, surround us with loved ones and keep them safe, or would we ask for the good life with prosperity and success?
The author of this verse thinks quite differently! In his request, he asks for neither riches nor poverty! He asks only for what He may need each day. His desire is to be focused on God and the life He desires him to have.
This prayer from Proverbs probably seems like a strange one from today’s perspective for we see that its focus is not on how much or how little we might be given, but it is a prayer about living a more righteous and godly life. Filled with wise sayings and good advice for daily living, most chapters are believed to have been written by King Solomon, but this particular one was written by Agur, an oracle. We know nothing about him other than the words at the beginning of Chapter 30 and what we can surmise from these verses – and that is, that Agur was a man who trusted God and who prayed wisely.
This is the only prayer in Proverbs and from it we can see that Agur’s commitment was to honor God in all he did, and his honest intent was to never let his own self-interests get in the way of his relationship with Him. In his request, he was concerned with his spiritual life and his physical life. He wanted to live an honest, worthwhile one, and he had a sincere desire to keep his heart in a godly place.
He was satisfied if God would just provide him with his daily needs. He asked God to avoid giving him affluence or poverty. He felt if he were given wealth, it might lead him to self-reliance and a denial of God’s blessings in his life. He might feel as if he didn’t need God and his greatest desire was that he would always seek and honor Him. On the other hand, if he was given extreme poverty, he was concerned that he might have to obtain what he needed in dishonest ways and dishonor the name of God. He wanted to live an honest, simple life and one focused on God – nothing more and nothing less.
Food for thought about what we consider important to us, isn’t it? And what a reminder to be grateful for the blessings we have!
Our most gracious and loving God, thank you for loving us even when we seem only concerned with ourselves and what we have. May we seek to live more honest and godly lives, be content, and honor you in all that we do. Amen