Summary: Based on the prayer of Agur, this sermon gives some suggestions on how we should pray in regard to our finances.
March 9, 2003 Proverbs 30:7-9
The message today will be the last installment in our series on biblical finances. I think that after today, we will have gained enough information to chew on for a while. Like the messages that we have received up to this point, you will have to make a decision on whether or not you are going to believe and act on what you receive today. I know that some of you are going to do today the same thing that you do virtually every time that you hear a pastor speak on finances. You’re going to say, “That sounds all well and good, but it won’t work in my situation.” You might be justified in saying that if I was up here giving you my own thoughts on finances or if I had gained what I’ve shared with you through listening to unsaved businessmen and financial planners whose only financial goal is the meeting of their own pleasures. But that is not my source of information. My source of information is the Bible, and therefore this teaching that I give comes not from men but from God. It is God’s truth. God’s truth is absolute. That means that it applies to all people, in all places at all times regardless of their situation. You would be wise to listen, and you would be even wiser to put it into practice.
Even knowing that the ultimate source is God, still there is the temptation to disregard the financial advice that a poor preacher gives to you. After all, if I was seeking for wisdom on how to be financially stable, I would go to someone who had a million dollars – someone who is financially stable – not to someone like me who has less than a hundred dollars in his checking account. Any of you who are prone to that way of thinking are going to get just what you asked for. We’re going to learn from someone who was one of the richest men of all time. We’re going to learn from Solomon, the third king of Israel.
Solomon knew what he was talking about when it came to money. God had enabled him to accumulate great wealth. The book of 1 Kings talks about some of his wealth – 40 thousand horses, a temple that was built of costly stone and overlaid with pure gold on the entire interior and a home that was built of stone overlaid almost completely with cedar. Solomon knew riches. The advantage that he had was that he also had wisdom. God gave him greater wisdom than anyone of his time (1 Kings 4:30) and perhaps greater than anyone of all time. Solomon recorded much of that wisdom in the book of Proverbs - one of three books that he wrote. It contains many short wisdom sayings about almost every aspect of life, including money. We heard many of those verse read already this morning. Some of the proverbs recorded in the book originated with him, but many of them were collected from other sources by Solomon. Since Solomon chose to collect all these sayings, we know they are wise and can be trusted. And since God was in control of the whole process, we know that these Proverbs are God’s own truth.
We come to one of those collections of someone else’s wisdom here in Proverbs 30. Here we have the “sayings of Agur”. Though we know nothing about Agur’s background or financial condition, we know a lot about his character from things that he says here in this chapter.
1. He was a teacher (vs. 1). He passed along truth to other people. He knew that the truth he was given through precepts and through experience was not given to him to keep to himself but for him to pass it along. The same is true for you. The truths that I have gained and given to you, you have a responsibility to pass along to other people.
2. He was humble (vs. 2-4).
3. He had a high regard for God’s written word (vs. 5-6).
4. He had a relationship with God (vs. 7-9).
5. He liked lists (vs. 15,18,21,24,29). Lists helped him organize his world so that he could get a handle on it. I can identify with that. I, like some of you, organize my day and my week by a list – a list of those things that are important for me to accomplish. I am glad that you included being in God’s house as a part of your list of important things for this week.
Today, we are going to spend our time on that 4th characteristic that Agur possessed – his relationship with God particularly as it relates to how he viewed earthly wealth. This sermon picks up where we left off last week concerning the greatest danger of money – idolatry. There is great potential for conflict between my relationship with God and my attitude toward money. Verses 7-9 are a prayer that Agur prayed out of his desire to make sure that he kept God and money in their proper place in his life. His prayer shows 4 recognitions that controlled what financial goals he sought and what he was willing to do in order to get there.