Facing Our Spiritual Challenges

Yael Eckstein  |  November 11, 2022

Stacked up coins

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
—Proverbs 30:8

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Is it better to be rich or poor? I know. This seems like a ridiculous question. Of course, it’s better to be rich. Right? Throughout the Bible we see over and over that wealth is one of God’s blessings, bestowed upon us as reward for serving Him.

For example, we read in Deuteronomy, “The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you” (28:11).

And yet, the Bible also warns us of the dangers of prosperity, that wealth can lead our hearts to stray from God. In the same book we read, “Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied… then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deuteronomy 8:12-14).

So which is it? If wealth can lead us to forget about God, is it really worth it? Is it really a blessing? Should we want to be poor?

Facing Our Spiritual Challenges

I thought about this as I came across this verse in Proverbs, “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” (vv. 8-9).

This verse teaches us that both wealth and poverty can tempt us to sin, to stray from God, each in its own way.

People who are rich and feel that they can fill all their worldly needs with their wealth can be led to forget about God. They run the risk of thinking that they don’t really need Him. At the other extreme, poverty often tempts people to make allowances for themselves to bend the rules, even to the point of lying and stealing, to feed themselves.

The original Hebrew emphasizes this point. The Hebrew words for “my daily bread” is lechem chuki, which literally means, “the bread allotted to me,” or “the bread decreed for me.” The word “daily” or “day” does not actually appear here at all. In other words, facing our spiritual challenges that come from whatever financial situation we are in means recognizing that what we have or lack is God’s will, His decree.

Every situation — riches, poverty, illness, and health — brings its own spiritual challenges. The way to face these challenges, from both extremes, is to recognize that God is the source of all we have. He chose our situation. We must embrace whatever God has allotted to us and use our situation to bring honor to Him.

Your Turn:

Do you worry about money? Take a moment to recognize that whatever your financial state, God has given you exactly what you need. Thank God for the challenges you have been spared from.