Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die. . . give me neither poverty nor riches. . . 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. ~Proverbs 30:7-9
Who is God? Is God good? What is goodness? Why do I not feel God? I have gotten these kinds of questions a lot over the years as friends and acquaintances sometimes feel disconnected from God. They are struggling with doubts and boredom, and they are unsure how to deal with them. They go through the motions of prayer, reading Scripture, and nothing seems to stoke the flames of worship. Is there really a point in praying? I don’t really feel anything afterwards. Church isn’t really doing anything for me. There are moments when our faith can feel dried up.I am challenged by Agur in Proverbs 30. He prays something to God that I have rarely heard from anyone. He has a two-fold prayer request. The first half makes a lot of sense to me. He asks the Lord to not give him poverty. Agur wants provision so that he does not steal and disgrace the name of the Lord. Amen to that! People can do terrible things when they feel like they do not have what they need. The desperation that accompanies poverty can tempt a godly person to do whatever it takes to survive. We need the Lord’s help in trusting his provision. But, the other half of Agur’s prayer intrigues me.
Agur asks the Lord to not give him riches either! He must be confused!! We should want to get, get, and get some more. We serve a God of abundance, right?! But, Agur explains the rationale of this prayer. He says that if he is rich, he will be full and deny the Lord. He will say things like, “Who is the Lord?” And, therein lies the familiar struggle.
Often times, when I hear about the dry seasons of faith, it is in very “blessed” times of life. Their bills are paid. They are in good health. There is no crisis they need help with. Things are not perfect, but they have a lot going for them! Yet, they do not feel connected to the Lord. I can relate to that. I know what it is like to take some Tylenol and then contemplate if God is a healer. I have experienced having a closet full of clothes and shoes yet wonder if God is a provider. There are times when I travel safely to destination after destination but wonder if God is a protector. I question “who is the Lord?” even though He is constantly showing me. Why? Because I am full. I have been deceived into thinking that I am the master of my life, so seeking after the Lord is not essential for me to thrive. I foolishly believe that the quality of my life would not be worse if the Lord was not an integral part of it.
I see the importance of Agur’s prayer. I often misunderstand the danger of being full. Sometimes, blessings can block our view of God. I forget that this whole day was made by God, and I should rejoice in that fact (Psalm 118:24). I forget that the Lord blesses believers and non-believers (Matthew 5:45). Everything good and perfect comes from Him (James 1:17). But, when I am full, I am deceived into disconnecting these truths from the Lord, allowing myself to miss how much of the world proclaims his glory!
It is normal to go through seasons of life where our fellowship with the Lord is not as close as we would like it to be. What a gift to come to that realization! We should use those opportunities to consider where we might be too full. The glory of the Lord is always near to us, but sometimes we have too much that is blocking our view. Let’s pray the Lord helps us to see Him truly.