7 ¶ Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 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.
In keeping with this prayer there are several verses worth reading. Would that our spiritual and political leaders would pray this prayer. Would that Christian parents would instill this ideal in their children.
Isaiah 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Ezekiel 13:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. 9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
The good, old fashioned American dream of being rich and living a life of leisure is not in keeping with God’s plans for Christians.
Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
Poverty, as some of us know firsthand, is terribly inconvenient. There are many verses regarding the need to help someone who is poor and it is so well understood that being poor is not a desirable thing in our culture that I need not post verses regarding it only to say that Christ became poor so that He might make us rich in all spiritual things.
2Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Christians are told;
1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
We can apply these verses literally to us in that we seek neither to be rich or poor in a worldly sense. In order for Christians to achieve this they are told to work with their own hands and mind their own business and give generously to those in true need.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
These verses in Proverbs show us how wealth can produce apathy toward God and the things of God and how poverty can influence one’s actions to bring shame on the cause of Christ. This reminds me of the famous film noir, Scarlet Street, where a friend of Edward G. Robinson’s character says that he doesn’t like Sundays. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. This apathy, this nonchalance in a culture that lifted up Sunday as a day to worship the Lord is typical of the person who says in his heart, “I have a home. I have a job. What do I need with Christ?”
It is good to have enough. It is not good to have too little. It is rarely good to have too much. In all things we should seek what God would have us to have and enjoy in this life giving liberally to others in need. Remembering;
1 Corinthians 3:21 ¶ Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.