Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Proverbs 30:7-9

Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die:[8] Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, [9] That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

I have made it my habit to read through Proverbs every month for the last several years. I read chapter 1 on the first day of the month, chapter 2 on the second day and so on. By reading Proverbs this way, I have etched many of the book's nuggets of wisdom into my mind.

One of my favorite nuggets of wisdom is contained in today's passage. Agur, the human author of this text, makes two requests of the Lord. He asks the Lord to give him neither poverty nor wealth, but just what he needs.

Some wrongly assume when Agur asks to be kept from "falsehood and deceitful words" in verse 8, that it is a separate request. But Old Testament scholar Duane Garrett says "The “falsehood and lies” of v. 8 are the deceptiveness of both wealth and poverty. The former convinces one that God is not necessary; and the latter, that either he is of no help or that his laws are impossible to keep."

Folks, Jesus taught us to pray this same way when he instructed us to ask for "our daily bread." In the first century, when Jesus uttered those words, one was considered well off if they had clothes on their back and food for the day. How foreign this is to the American way of thinking. Most of us have several days’ food in our cupboards. In fact, most Americans have such abundance that they have lost their sense of dependence on God.

Could it be that our apparent prosperity has caused us to assume that God is not necessary? Is this why there are more cars in the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart on any given Sunday than our churches? Who can deny that America's material prosperity has created an atmosphere of spiritual poverty?

No doubt, some of you are struggling financially. Could it be that God is trying to teach you to trust Him on a daily basis for your needs? Could it be that God is teaching you to be content with the basics? Maybe you’re struggling financially because of your tendency to drift away from God when you prosper. Whatever the reason, draw near to the Lord and trust Him to meet your needs. Resist the urge to depend on Visa or MasterCard!

Also, notice Agur's motivation for seeking God's provision in verse 13. He doesn't want to be put in a position where he will give in to temptation and profane God's name. Agur's request is not so much about himself or his comfort as it is about God's reputation and His glory. God will answer this kind of prayer.

Now do you see why I read Proverbs everyday? God's wisdom is available to those who take the time to seek it. Are you making time on a daily basis to seek God's wisdom?

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