“Don’t give me either poverty or wealth; give me just the food I need. Or I’ll be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I’ll be poor and steal and dishonor my God’s name” (Proverbs 30:8-9, NASB).
We live in a world that glorifies success. To be somebody you must be accomplished, you must be prosperous and successful. So, pursue wealth, acquire power, attain fame. Or better yet, have it all!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV).
Jesus used the metaphor of a sheep pen or sheepfold and a shepherd to tell a beautiful story in John 10:1-18 of how God desires to care for and protect His people.
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30, NLT).
These words are the response given by John the Baptist when questioned by his disciples why everybody was following Jesus instead of him.
John had a clear understanding of his mission: “I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him…Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success” (vs. 29-30).
There is a quality of life that Christians enjoy that results from being a believer and follower of Jesus. Jesus referred to it as abundant life: “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10, HCSB).
The Apostle Paul expounds on the spiritual blessings that God supplies His people in the opening chapter and verses of the book of Ephesians.
“‘Why do you ask My name,’ the Angel of the Lord asked him, ‘since it is wonderful’ … and he did a wonderful thing while Manoah and his wife were watching” (Judges 13:18-19, HCSB).
Manoah and his wife were unable to conceive and had no children. But Manoah and his wife (we’re never told her name) eventually became the parents of Samson through God’s intervention into their lives.
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18, ESV).
This verse is one of my favorites. Moses is preaching to Israel and preparing them to enter the promised land.
He reminds them of all God has miraculously done in bringing them out of Egyptian slavery and during their wilderness wanderings over the last forty years.
“The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; in his imagination it is like a high wall” (Proverbs 18:10-11, HCSB).
At first glance, you may read these consecutive verses as two individual proverbs, each having its own meaning. Upon a closer look you will see that these two proverbs are like two sides of the same coin:
two ways of life,
two choices for life!