Today I was reading Proverbs 30 and these verses stood out to me.
"Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." - Proverbs 30:7-9
What if I really prayed like this? How different would my whole life look?
We often read Jesus' words "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11), with the sense that God's first intent is to hold out on us and we have to make sure we ask Him to give us enough. As if our God doesn't give in abundance. But the writer of Proverbs 30 specifies, "give me only my daily bread." He knows that God gives in abundance. And he sees the danger that abundance could lead to: self-dependence and denying God as sustainer.
So his inclination would be to go to the other extreme and ask God for poverty. But he sees the danger there as well: "I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." Notice that he didn't write: I may become poor and starve to death. His primary concern is honoring God's name. Stealing makes him his own provider anyway, which is the exact same danger he encounters if he has too much.
Two requests: honesty and sustenance. We tend to think that honesty is subject to circumstances - we would be inclined to say that if he is poor, it's ok to steal to feed himself. The writer recognizes that stealing is dishonoring to God, regardless of the circumstances. How often do we pray that God would keep us honest? Sometimes we pray that God would put us in circumstances where it's easy to be honest. But do we pray that God would keep us honest, regardless of our situation? Are we praying that God would give us just what we need? Or are we praying that He would make us comfortable? Is our highest concern honoring God's name by being honest and recognizing Him as our provider and sustainer?
Imagine how different our families and our churches and our communities would look if that was true about us.
All of this wisdom God spoke through a man who claims at the beginning of the chapter, "I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man's understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One." - Proverbs 30:2-3