Prosperity: Not Too Little, Not Too Much

As we conclude our examination of balance or the lack of it, let’s return to where we started. A wise man of Israel reflected on his wealth and its effect on his relationship with God. He then formulated this prayer asking the Lord to help him maintain a wise balance:

Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God. (30:7–9)

This man had lived enough years and experienced sufficient challenges to boil his petition down to two specifics:

  1. Keep me from deception and liars.
  2. Give me neither too little nor too much prosperity.

It is the second request that helps him maintain a proper balance. That is the one he amplified. Why did he resist having too little? He wanted to avoid any temptation to meet his needs through dishonest means. Desperate people do desperate things. Whoever doubts that has never looked into the faces of his or her starving children. At that moment, feeding them could easily overrule upholding some high-and-mighty principle. Adversity can tempt us to profane the name of our God.

And why did the writer fear possessing too much? When we’re fat-’n’-sassy, we’re most vulnerable to both pride and the temptation to forget God. That’s when we risk becoming like Nebuchadnezzar, who credited himself for his success. That’s when we place greater trust in our wealth to provide for our needs and to give us security. Prosperity can tempt us to presume on the grace of God.

Think it over. The adversary of our souls is the expert of extremes. He never runs out of ways to push us to the limit, to get us so far out to one extreme that we risk a serious moral tumble. The longer I live, the more I must fight the tendency to go to extremes, and the more I value balance.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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