Godliness with Contentment
Give me neither poverty nor riches ...
The context of Proverbs 30:8 is a request for contentment. Agur, a nebulous character who more than likely was an Assyrian Ruler, says: 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 dishonour the name of my God.
The fame of Solomon reached to many nations, and Agur is more than likely one of many dignitaries that visited Jerusalem during his reign. The Queen of Sheba (modern day Ethiopia) also visited and marveled at the wisdom of Israel’s king. Solomon’s story of his dream (I Kings 3:1-15), was likely told to these visitors. For visiting rulers it was amazing to think that Solomon would ask for wisdom to rule, as opposed to long life, riches, or fame.
I wonder how many people today could say the same thing? Our current circumstances have brought out the inner hoarder in many of us. Who would have ever thought that toilet paper, or yeast, or hamburger would be the products missing on our store shelves. Instead of thinking of others, far too many people have forgotten God’s promise to provide all that we need.
The Apostle Paul dealt with the same issue. He experienced the extremes of poverty and plenty, and came to this conclusion:
For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul hits the nail on the head when he said, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6).
It is one of those areas where once again we need the direction and filling of the Holy Spirit. Our sinful nature would lust after things or covet our neighbor possessions, instead of living with contentment.