TO READ: Proverbs 30:1-16
O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.Proverbs 30:7-8
As late as the nineteenth century, leeches were used by physicians in the treatment of a variety of ailments. The green and brown worms were attached to the patient, and the sucker at each end of the leech’s anatomy went to work. The leech’s saliva contains an anticoagulant to stop the blood clotting, an anesthetic so the patient (victim!) feels no discomfort, and a substance which dilates the vessels to facilitate the blood flow. Leeches are highly sophisticated suckers!
Dissatisfaction is a leech. Agur, a writer of proverbs, said, “The leech has two suckers that cry out, ‘More, more!’ There are three other things—no, four!—that are never satisfied: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire” (Prov. 30:15-16). The person who is never satisfied, who cries out continually for “more, more” is probably anesthetized to the fact that, because he concentrates on what he doesn’t have, he is incapable of enjoying what he does have. And all the time, joy, delight, contentment, and thanksgiving flow freely away from his thoughts, leaving him depleted and spiritually anemic.
The picture of the leech is sufficient to portray the attitudes and condition of the dissatisfied man. But the further analogies of grave, barren womb, thirsty desert, and blazing fire serve to underline his serious condition. Not only does his dissatisfied soul find no satisfaction, but his dissatisfaction creates further dissatisfaction and he sinks into the grave of deadened delight while the fires of insatiable longings consume him. His life becomes barren like a desert, and the inner longings of his soul cry out unheeded, unanswered, and unmet. So what can be done about it?
Agur prayed a mature prayer, which should be echoed by every person concerning his financial status and spiritual condition: “O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ and if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (30:7-9). The poor man, who, understandably, is not satisfied with his poverty, may be tempted to steal in order to have enough to survive. His dissatisfaction can lead him into an endless cycle of trouble. So Agur wisely prays to be delivered from poverty. But the pathologies of abundance need to be addressed as well. For abundance and affluence not only create a desire for more, but also a dangerous tendency to self-sufficiency. For the man who has everything—even if he wants more—may decide he doesn’t need God. So Agur prays to be delivered from abundance, and asks for just enough to satisfy his needs (30:8).
The leeches of dissatisfaction will drain you—but the vitamins of contentment will sustain you.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for my life and the opportunity you gave me to experience both abundance and near poverty. I am most appreciative as You have now given me the two things Agur prayed for. I am bless to have my family and enough to provide for our needs and occasionally our wants, but neither to excess. May You bless others that they too may find the proper balance and be appreciative of you for providing that balance in life. I would further ask that You enter the hearts of those that need you most and help them to look toward You for the answers to their quest.
These blessings I humbly ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ...
Amen and AMEN!!!
Proverbs 30: 1-16
1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
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.
10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.
11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.