Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
How wise and prudent are you? Do you fear wealth as much as poverty? Do you know that financial success is a vain lie? Here are two of the most important prayer requests you can ever pray. Agur gave inspired instruction to his two students about the danger and deception of money and riches, and your future success and tranquility depend on it.
Agur had a great desire for two petitions (Pr 30:7). He knew the dangerous consequences of not obtaining them (Pr 30:9). He understood the deceitful and damning nature of both financial success and poverty, so he begged God to deliver him from the arrogance of being rich and from the temptations of being poor. He begged for a moderate income.
Agur prayed for two things: (1) to be saved from vanity and lies, and (2) to obtain only moderate success in life, avoiding both poverty and riches. What vanity and lies are under view? The vanity and lies of riches and success! How so? Let the connection, context, and Bible drive the interpretation (I Cor 2:13), since there is no hint at lies of false religion, evolution, false gods, a cheating spouse, hypocrites, perjurers, or other such lies.
Vanity is anything futile, profitless, worthless, or empty. You know what a lie is. Riches are both! David wrote, “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity” (Ps 62:9). God condemns men and their empty accomplishments. Agur wanted to be saved from wasting life chasing the illusion of riches and success (Pr 23:4-5; Ps 119:136-137; I Tim 6:6-10).
Think honestly and wisely about money. It does not satisfy, even when you get lots of it; this is vanity (Ec 4:8; 5:10). It disappears quickly (Pr 27:24; Ec 5:11). It corrupts morals (Mark 10:23-25; I Tim 6:9-10; Titus 1:11). You cannot take it with you (Matt 6:19-21; Luke 12:13-21; I Tim 6:7). It chokes out and destroys fruitfulness (Matt 6:24; 13:22). What vanity! Are you wise enough to believe these warnings and pray against wealth?
A wise man prays for a moderate income and estate, so he can avoid the temptations to sin on either end of the financial spectrum (Pr 30:9). He prays for contentment, and he learns contentment, knowing it is the true measure of success (I Tim 6:6; Phil 4:10-13). A wise man maximizes life by walking with God, regardless of assets or enemies (Heb 13:5-6). He fully despises obsession with filthy lucre (I Tim 3:3,8; Titus 1:7; I Pet 5:2).
Reader! This advice is only in the Bible. This is the advice of a wise sage approved by Solomon or his editors that was also inspired by God. You cannot get better financial advice anywhere else. The fools around you adore riches. They have foolishly sacrificed their lives to vanity and lies. You should add these two prudent requests to your prayers.