Poverty Nor Riches
Proverbs 30:8-9 (ESV) -- Remove far from me falsehood and lying; 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.
There was a famous song when I was young called, “I Wanna Be Rich.” The song was released in 1989 by Calloway, an R&B duo. The chorus says, “I wanna be rich for a little love, peace and happiness.” The song captures what most people in the world believe. Money will bring you love, peace, and happiness. Now, to be sure, money can bring some wonderful things. Money is not evil. Love of money is evil, in fact, Jesus calls it the root of all evil. But many fail to see what lots of money can do to you. Likewise, there are terrible effects of what poverty will do to you.
This is the subject of our passage today. The proverb is not appreciated enough. Proverbs 30:8-9 shows us the danger of having too much money or not having enough. It says, “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; 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.”
The proverb is a prayer. The writer wants neither poverty nor riches. Why? If he has too much, and has no needs at all, he may be tempted to say “Who is the LORD?” What does this mean? It means he may believe he has no need of God. He will lack a recognition of his need for the LORD in his life. Poverty presents the counter problem. If he doesn’t have the means to live, and finds himself in poverty, he may steal and profane God. In other words, he will break God’s commands and steal to meet his needs, all while cursing God for his plight.
The remedy? Have enough to meet your needs. This proverb isn’t giving a command from God. This doesn’t mean that having material wealth and blessing are evil. It’s not. God is the giver of wealth. It also doesn’t mean that people with little means are sinners who curse God. People may find themselves in either position or both at some point in their lives. The proverb is teaching a lesson about the dangers of both poverty and riches.
We should seek contentment so that we never believe we don’t need God and so we don’t curse Him because of our struggles.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is this proverb not necessarily a command to be followed explicitly?
- What are the different struggles that come with both riches and poverty?
- How can this proverb be a lesson for you in your life today?
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