Last week, my reading-through-the-Bible plan had me in Proverbs 30. The heading in my Bible for the chapter said, The Sayings of Agur. I had failed to realize or had forgotten that King Solomon had not written all the proverbs included in this book of the Bible. (Similarly, many people think that David wrote all the psalms in the previous book!)
The study notes for Proverbs 30 indicated that not much is known about Agur. Verse one states that he was the son of Jakeh. He may have been from Massa. The notes continue "The origin of these sayings is not clear. Nothing is known about Agur except that he was a wise teacher who may have come from Lemuel's kingdom." Spoiler alert - King Lemuel is credited with writing the wise sayings/proverbs included in Chapter 31 of Proverbs; Solomon did not write the portion described as "the wife of noble character."
Once I got this concept into my head, I delved into Agur's contribution to the Book of Proverbs. (I'm using the New Living Translation.)
1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.
I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. 2 I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. 3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
After Agur's splendid self-introduction, I was eager to continue reading. I certainly can identify with Agur up to this point. I, too, am tired and feel like the more that I try to understand or figure God out, the less certain I am of what I do know. I'm guessing that Agur would be shaking his head as to how and why his musings were included in the canon of Scripture!
But what really got my attention were verses 7-9:
7 O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 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.
Ouch! I don't know about you, but this hit me right between the eyes. Not the telling a lie part, but the second favor he asks of God - about money. I have been complaining, perhaps whining, about finances. Yes, the Lord's Prayer contains "give us this day our daily bread." Jesus taught that rich people may have trouble getting into the Kingdom. Paul, in Philippians 4:12 (NLT), points out "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything."
I needed to hear/read this! I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason that God hasn't sent the miracle that I've been praying for (or demanding). Perhaps my focus should be on "Give me just enough to satisfy my needs." And then trust that God ultimately knows what I need.
Maybe Agur really was wise and not "too stupid to be human." I hope he doesn't mind that I'm going to borrow his sayings in verses 7-9 and put that into my prayer instead of my current litany of woes!
For those who might need some Monday Motivational Music, this Christian country song by Rhett Walker has been a favorite in my playlist recently.