Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Scripture: Proverbs 30:8b-9, ‘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.’

 

Observations: The writer of this proverb, Agur son of Jakeh (v1), wants to first and foremost honour God with his life. In light of this he doesn’t want to be rich, because the rich are often tempted to disown God because they don’t need him, they have everything they need. God often warns his people in the Old Testament that when they have everything they want that they shouldn’t forget Him (Dt 6:10-12). But on the other hand, he doesn’t want to be poor either, for the poor may be tempted to steal and so dishonour God. Instead he prays ‘give me only my daily bread,’ which is a way of saying ‘what I need.’ Jesus includes this phrase in the prayer he taught his disciples (Mt 6:11). Paul also writes, ‘if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Tim 6:8)’ Agur isn’t saying that the wealthy can’t honour God, or that the poor will steal, he just doesn’t want anything to tempt him to do anything that dishonours God.

 

Application: Firstly, is it your desire to honour the Lord? Do you put Jesus before your personal comfort, whether that’s acquiring more, or whether you’re lacking it? Our affluent society certainly feels that they don’t need God, how about you? Or maybe you struggle with coveting what others have? Are you grateful that God meets your daily needs? I wonder how much our culture’s worship of affluence and comfort have defined our priorities as followers of Christ, rather than the other way around?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the truth is that You have blessed me with incredible resources, more than I need. Lord, help me to use them in a way that honours You. May I never forget that they are a gift from You to be used to build Your kingdom, not my own. Lord, forgive me when I become consumed by what I have instead of by You. May I never disown You, or dishonour You. Help me to be different from this world, may I seek You and Your righteousness first. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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