December 17 - The Danger of Extremes


By Barbara Lighthizer

Today's Scripture: Proverbs 30:7-9 (NIV)

Central Thought: Either riches or poverty can cause us to sin.

    Agur, the author of this proverb, feared sin. The desire to please the Lord brought two conditions of life into focus—riches and poverty.

    Riches: Jesus gave an example of how difficult it is for a rich man to obey God. The wealthy young ruler turned away from the Lord when He told him to sell all of his possessions and follow Him. Christ said, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” (Matthew 19:24). Having money is not a sin, but the love of money hinders us from obeying God.

    Poverty: In Bible times, the harvesters left some of the crops for the poor people to glean. This gesture became a major means of survival for many underprivileged individuals. Even today, some farmers allow poor people to glean their fields. Everyone faces some degree of fear of being so poor that they are unable to feed their families, and possibly even fear of losing their homes. Although there may be temptation to steal to provide for our families, that is an unacceptable means of provision.

    Either extreme—riches or poverty—can tempt us to sin. We may ask the Lord to keep us from poverty, yet how often do we ask Him to withhold riches? Even the author of today's proverb did not feel strong enough to deal with either extreme. Are we?

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to find contentment with Your provision for my life. If it is Your will to bring riches into my life, help me to not compromise my walk with You.

Today's Bible Reading: Nahum 1:1-3:19; Revelation 8:1-13; Psalm 136:1-26; Proverbs 30:7-9