Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV)
Do not refuse me before I die. Such a strong statement to preface a request to God. I wonder at these words. If I were close to death, I might be concerned about truth, but I don’t think I would be interested in my economic state.
Or would I?
Today I read Luke’s account of the betrayal of Jesus (Luke 22). Jesus was arrested and his death imminent. The disciples’ lives and expectations were threatened. Their response?
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty coins. These two disciples, who spent up to three years in the presence of God’s Son, did the two things listed in Agur’s request.
Each in his own way disowned Christ, and said, “Who is the Lord?”
On the Mount of Olives, prior to his arrest, Jesus told his disciples,
“Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:40 NIV)
The requests in Proverbs 30:7-9 are very timely. I am aware of my weakness. Under pressure, I have often fallen into the temptation to deceive – by withholding information.
God has blessed me richly. Rarely do I worry about my daily bread. I must, therefore, be on my guard all the more so I don’t dishonor God in pride.
But, we have something the disciples did not yet have on the Mount of Olives – his indwelling Holy Spirit. Through Christ, we have access to the throne of God (Ephesians 2:18).
God knows us. Our weaknesses and tendency to sin do not surprise him. Jesus prayed for Peter, just as he intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). The admonition he gave his disciples is for us as well. Let’s not forget the power of prayer.
“Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”