Reading in Proverbs the other day, a couple of verses really stood out to me. You read a passage you’ve read many, many times before and God just sticks His finger in the book and says, “Look, Right there!” I love when that happens. The passage I read was Proverbs 30:7-9:
Two things I ask of You; don’t deny them to me before I die:
Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need.
Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God. (HCSB)
I immediately prayed these words for my own life. I want my words to be always measured and truthful. Proverbs tells us, and life confirms, the more you speak the more prone you are to say something that is not true. Let your words be few; speak slowly and let every word count. Never lie or deceive another. We are servants of the king. Jesus said to let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’. (Matthew 5:37) The ninth commandment in the Old Testament tells us not to lie. (Exodus 20:16) There is no wiggle room. God demands honesty. In addition to keeping deceit from my own lips, I also pray that those who would deceive me would stay far away. Flattering lips and scheming individuals tempt us to walk a path Christ would not. I want these types of people as far from me as possible. Don’t keep close company with those who make a habit of lying to you or to others. Surround yourself with those of the highest character or you may be enticed to live in a manner that is against God.
The second thing I prayed was to be neither poor nor wealthy. I have on some small level touched both ends of the spectrum in my own life and can attest to the temptations of each. (As a side note, do you realize if you make in excess of $25,000 per year you are wealthier than 97% of the world? If you make in excess of $50,000 per year, you are wealthier than 99% of the world’s population! I’d wager you are wealthier than you may have previously thought! ) If I have too much excess available to me, I might easily be tempted to spend it selfishly on things I don’t necessarily need. Money and time are finite; are we spending them in a way that is pleasing to God? If I have too little, there is pressure to perhaps take what we did not pay for in order to satisfy our need for food or clothing or perhaps even just our desire to have something we could not otherwise afford. Better to have just enough for the day. This will cause me to faithfully trust Christ every day for His provision of my needs. If I have too much, my response should be to give that excess to those who do not have enough.
It is beautiful and astounding that the words of Proverbs written so long ago are still so relevant today. We are bombarded by advertising that makes us think we need the latest gadget or service. We are encouraged to do whatever it takes to get ahead. There is the concept of a “white lie” that apparently doesn’t count as an actual lie; who thought of this ludicrous idea? Lord, keep all deceit from my lips, and keep those who would deceive me far away. Give me simply just enough to provide for my day and let me fully trust you to take care of tomorrow. Keep my eyes on You and You alone; may I remain ever faithful with all you entrust into my care. Please, give me just enough.