Two behavior QUALITIES to request from GOD - INTEGRITY & CONTENTMENT
July 8 Bible Reading: Proverbs Chapters 28-31
"Two things I request of You (deprive me not before I die): remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches--feed me with the food allotted to me; lest 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." (Prov. 30:7-9)
The above verses contain the only prayer in the book of Proverbs, and were uttered by a wise man by the name of Agur, who may have lived during the time of King Solomon. His prayer was a double petition to God, which was all that Agur needed for himself. Many people in this world are of the opinion that more money will solve their problems and improve their lives. However, Agur has a different perspective on his life, and this prayer reflects a desire to learn from the kind of wisdom that is available in Proverbs.
What we see in this prayer is that Agur passionately requests from God just two behavior qualities before he died: one, covering his spiritual life and the other, covering his physical life. These two requests concern good character, and the circumstances that endanger the wise development of good character. The two specific prayers of Agur are as follows:
- First, “remove falsehood and lies far from me” (30:8): Regarding his spiritual life, Agur wanted his life to be worthwhile and honest. He didn’t want to deceive others or, to be deceived by others as well. Thus, his prayer was for a consistent and lifelong integrity, accompanied by a rejection of lies and riches. Let us understand that integrity is the key of living without any anxiety. When we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear as well. To live a life of honesty and integrity liberates us while living in deceit and falsehood enslaves us.
- Second, “give me neither poverty nor riches--feed me with the food allotted to me” (30:8): Regarding his physical life, Agur asked God to deliver him from the extremes of poverty and riches. He prayed for contentment, and would be completely satisfied when God would provide his daily needs. Agur was in fact echoing part of the prayer taught by Jesus: “Give me this day my daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).
We see that Agur offered a simple prayer for daily bread with contentment. This contentment springs from trusting God to supply our needs every day, and gratefully accept what He provides for us. We can then boldly echo the sentiment of King David: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalms 23:1). Today, both integrity and contentment are available to everyone as God’s riches for the soul, and God will provide them liberally to those who ask of Him. Let us also imitate Agur by praying to God for two vital behavior qualities - integrity and contentment – in our daily prayers.