By Elizabeth Prata
Proverbs 30:7-9 says
7Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9lest 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.
In reference to the first part of the verse, God hates lying, slander, gossip, all the negative things involving the tongue. Heed the many warnings of scripture about that.
In reference to the latter part of the verse… there are also many warnings about money. Judas’s sin was greed. He stole from the purse as he wanted. (John 13:29). The Rich Young Ruler forewent eternal salvation because “he had great possessions”. (Matthew 10:22).
Jesus warns twice in the same sermon how riches obscures your view of God, saying, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
It is not a sin to be rich, but having a lot of money makes it very hard to let go of the world and open one’s hands to Jesus, clinging to Him, as Proverbs verse 9a states. Alternately, poverty also puts temptation on one’s life, tempting the impoverished person to steal, as verse 9b indicates. Poverty also gives rise to discontent, jealousy, and covetousness.
Our sin nature gives us so many different paths to take, doesn’t it? Learning to be content with what we have, under any circumstances (Philippians 4:11) is a good goal for 2019. The scriptures tell us to cast all our cares on him, (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6) and to pray daily for our bread (i.e everything necessary to sustain life, Luke 11:3) so I believe it is perfectly all right to pray for provision. Learning to pray for what we need rather than what we want is the goal.
The key is to pray for sustenance, i.e., means to live as we need to live in the circumstances in which God placed us. We should find that middle ground where we aren’t hoarding wealth rather than looking to Jesus, nor so lacking we’re tempted to sin. Relying on His bountiful grace, is the true prosperity.