Saturday, August 6, 2011

Neither Poverty, Nor Riches?

I've been reading quite a bit regarding contentment.  Last night I was reading through Proverbs 30.  What a fascinating request made by Agur.
". . . give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8-9
He wanted to be protected from both poverty and riches.   Why?  Those who are truly poor and destitute often complain.  Their hearts become bitter as it seems God has not provided for them.  Cursing may be on their lips because of their situation. They may be tempted to cheat or steal to provide for their families.
Look at the Israelites.  They thought they did not have enough to eat with their daily provision of manna.  In their discontentment they murmured against God and He sent them the desire of their heart: protein in the form of quail.   According to Numbers 11:31 God sent so much quail that it was about 3 feet deep on the ground.  God definitely proved to them He could more than meet their request.  And the end result wasn't pretty:
While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague. Number 11:33
Learn from this sad outcome.  In recounting the story of how they coveted wicked things, tempted God, worshiped idols, committed immoral acts, and complained, I Corinthians 10 reminds us twice that this story was "written down for our instruction" and "these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did."  Be content with the little God has provided. 

Agur's request is for his appointed portion from God.  It's a request similar to what is found in the Lord's prayer:  "Give us this day our daily bread."  Give me the provision you want me to have, nothing less, nothing more.  I will be content with this. 

What is the minimum for contentment? When we are blessed with food and clothing.  "And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."  I Timothy 6:8  I struggle with this verse as I want it to say "shelter" also, but it doesn't.  "Health" would be nice also, but it doesn't promise that either.  God chooses to bless us with more than we deserve.  If we wander for a time without a house, God's provision of a heavenly home will more than make up for this inconvenience.   Poor health on earth will be forgotten once we receive a perfect body in heaven.

I Timothy 6:9 continues on to address the wealthy:  "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." So many of the wealthy see no need for God.  As Agur states, they often deny there is a God and ask "Who is the LORD?Most refuse to believe it's God who has blessed them with their storehouses of wealth. Their money can only provide temporary distraction from the emptiness in their soul.   Someday they will stand before their Maker stripped of everything. They may not have "needed" Him on earth, but they will regret it forever.   

My personal prayer is that money never become an idol in my heart.  I want to be content with my daily appointed portion from God.  I want to covet spiritual blessings over the transient wealth of the world.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19


  1. Amen!..... I just read your page “A baby, really?” and was almost in tears... I want for that to be my story! Am praying someday that comes true. What a sweet, sweet tale!

  2. Great post!

    I struggle with this verse as I want it to say "shelter" also, but it doesn't. "Health" would be nice also, but it doesn't promise that either. God chooses to bless us with more than we deserve.

    How true! And how ungrateful we can be in the midst of way more than enough! Blessings!


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