The Bible says, “Two things have I required (to inquire, to request) of thee, deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain,” (Proverbs 30:7-9).
In these verses we have the only prayer in the book of Proverbs. This prayer was written by Agur (v. 1).
In his prayer Agur first requested that God remove all vanity and lies from his life. By requesting this Agur was making it known that he didn’t want to waste his life on things that wouldn’t matter two seconds on the other side of eternity.
Agur then asked God to deliver him from the two extremes, to give him neither poverty nor riches, but to give him what was convenient for him. The word “convenient” means what is suitable, agreeable and appropriate, or making things come together. In other words give him his daily bread and help make ends meet.
Agur wanted this middle road of completeness and contentment because in it he would not face the temptations that he would face if he were rich or poor.
Agur knew that if he were rich he would face the temptation that all rich people face, that of getting a false sense of security and becoming independent of God and then turning their back on Him and denying they ever knew Him. Agur obviously saw this happen to others and prayed that it wouldn’t happen to him.
The warning of forgetting God after He had blessed them and they were full is given to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:10-12. An example of how the rich think they do not need God is found in Job 21. The church of the Laodiceans give us an example of being materially rich but spiritually bankrupt (Revelations 3:14-22).
Agur knew if he were poor he would be tempted to steal in order to make ends meet. Stealing would be breaking the law and would bring dishonor upon the name of God. Agur obviously saw this happen to others and prayed that it wouldn’t happen to him.
Agur simply asked God to put him in the middle-class so he wouldn’t experience the temptations that the rich and poor experience, which temptations if yielded to, would harm that which was so important to him, his relationship with God.
James H. Cagle lives in Ray City, Ga., and is a former Hamilton County resident.