Greetings family of God,
What a faithful God we serve! This week’s devotional consists of three short verses - the prayer of a humble man. If you had two wishes to ask of God before you die what would they be? Would they be like Agur’s prayer?
“God, I’m asking for two things
before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips
and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on,
neither too much nor too little.
If I’m too full, I might get independent,
saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal
and dishonor the name of my God.” (Prov. 30:7-9 MSG)
Firstly, keep me honest and truthful, so that I do not lie. I want to be one who speaks truth and associates with those who speak truth. This is definitely a high calling in our day and age. In a world filled with deception, lying and vanity[i], does it not require divine empowerment to rise above the “patterns of this world”? Vanity is a form of lying, by thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to. It is associated with the entertainment industry – the world of pretending and make-believe. It’s an illusion, a false reality…a lie! It comes at us from every angle. From having the car or house of our dreams, to fulfilling every desire and fantasy we have. It is deception that feeds the flesh, and the lust of the eyes. So, to pray to “banish lies and liars from my presence” is a very real and needed prayer. It is asking God to keep you from falling victim to the enticements of this world. It also requires action on our part – like not watching the myriad of advertisements coming at us from every angle. We need divine assistance to resist the temptations! In a nutshell, Agur prays for a guard over his eyes, his lips and his heart – protect me from the lying world Lord, and let me not become like them!
Secondly, out of this, I see a prayer for contentment with the basics: give me just enough for every day. I don’t want to be rich, nor poor, but rather just have enough for today. Great requests, asked in humility! If I have too much I might just disown God, because I don’t need Him anymore. I may be tempted to become self-reliant, instead of God dependent. If I am poor, I might resort to stealing. I don’t want to be a thief, nor a liar. Therefore, I just want to be daily dependent on God for all my needs. What a free way to live! Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). He goes on in Matthew 6 to teach on daily dependence on God to supply all of our needs. Why is that so hard for many Christians who live in affluent, 1st world America? We are prone to plan, and store, and put away for a rainy day, and retirement funds, and car funds, and education funds, and so on and so on. I am sure they don’t do this in 3rd world countries, where life consists of meeting daily needs and long term plans are never a possibility. The caution is very clear: If I am able to provide for myself, I just possibly won’t need God. Have we become self-reliant, and not God dependent? The prayer of Agur is to not become too rich, nor too poor, because both could lead to neglecting the God who “supplies all of my needs”. Do you remember the Israelites who were rescued from Egypt? God supplied them with “daily” manna, which they were not supposed to store up for themselves, otherwise it would rot overnight. God was leading them to the Promised Land, and teaching them dependence on Him. The moment they entered the Promised Land and ate the food of the land of Canaan, the manna stopped falling from heaven for them (Joshua 5:11-12). Before they entered Canaan, God gave them a strong warning:
Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deut. 8:11-14)
Later in Deuteronomy, God prophecies that His people will actually forget Him, and serve other gods, because of their affluence and prosperity (Deut. 31:20; 32:15). Wow!!! Does this resonate with our day? Is the church guilty of this today? You be the judge…of your own heart.
Let us humble ourselves, and recognize that everything comes from God. He is the one who supplies, so let us learn to be content with what we have. There is nothing wrong with being prosperous and blessed, as long as we don’t forget the God who blesses. Let us stay clear of the trappings of the world and its wealth, and be thankful for all that our Father supplies us with. (Read Matthew 6:19-34)
PEACE AND JOY TO YOU ALL
[i] (The Hebrew word ‘shav’ for “falsehood” and “deception” includes ‘vanity’ in its definition)