POVERTY OR RICHES NEITHER ARE GOOD FOR THE CHRISTIAN
Bro. Carl Haak
“Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the Name of my God in vain.” [Prov 30:7-9]
Now the prayer of Agur is this: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, lest I be full and deny thee, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ and lest I be poor and steal and take the name of God in vain.” He prays, then, as we saw, for contentment. He says, “Lord, when I think of poverty, I see that this would be a great trial of my faith. And I am praying that I not be led in that way. It would be too much for my faith to endure. I am praying, Lord, that as THOU KNOWEST the faith that Thou hast given to me, that I be kept in such a way that I remain faithful to Thee in every moment of my life.”
Agur knows his own heart. He knows his weakness. He knows his sinful nature. He knows exactly what would happen to him—both in poverty and in riches. He knows all the temptations that he would face. He knows that under poverty there would be resentment and bitterness and envy. Like an animal, he would begin to fight over his food. He would envy others over clothes and looks and land.
And he sees that if there are riches he will be tempted to boast. It will go to his head. He will begin to trust in those riches. He will become conceited. He will say, “Look at all that I have done because of my great powers and worth.”
In other words, Agur is afraid of himself. He sees what his sin will do in poverty or in riches. He is praying, “Lord, give me contentment.” And his reason is most profound, because he is thinking of the honor of God. “Lest I say, Who is the Lord? in my riches, or lest I take His name in vain in my poverty.” He recognizes that when everything is said and done, HOW WE LOOK TO EARTHLY THINGS HAS TO DO WITH HONORING GOD’S NAME. If he, in his riches, forgets God, in his pride he will say, “Who is God? Who needs Him?” Then he will bring dishonor upon his God. And in his poverty, if he becomes bitter and takes the name of God in vain, then again he dishonors his God. He is saying, “God doesn’t know what He is doing.” He will accuse God.
And so he desires contentment. For he sees that, in his receiving whatever the Lord gives him today, and in his seeking to use it to God’s honor and to His glory, it is GOD who is glorified.
CONTENTMENT IS A PRECIOUS JEWEL, the most precious jewel of all earthly life. It is to say, looking at the cross, “I have enough.”
I do not know your checkbook balance, or your finances, but IF YOU HAVE CHRIST, YOU HAVE ENOUGH. You have more than enough. “Lord, then grant me contentment. Give me my allotted portion.”
Let us hear the Lord’s words: “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things that he possesses, but in being rich toward God,” (Luke 12:15) and let us trust in the Lord, whose purposes are true, whose faithfulness is unbroken. And let us seek His kingdom in the confidence that He cares for me.