Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
1. This prayer is deservedly admired on account of the motive by which it was dictated, viz., a concern for his own virtue on the part of him who composed it. Agur's wish for the middle state grew out of a persuasion that it was the most favourable to virtue. This is a prayer not to be led into temptation.
2. It is marked by humility and self-knowledge.
3. Notice the attainableness of the thing prayed for. Much can be done by the co-operation of man's will with the operation of God's providence and Holy Spirit. What is true of our bodily health and spiritual state is true of our worldly circumstances. These also depend very much upon ourselves. "What shall I do to be happy in this world? " This is a question of importance in itself, even if it must be regarded as a minor question. The Scriptures abound with instruction respecting it. The Church puts up many prayers for blessings merely temporal, and for deliverance from evils that can only affect us here. If any say, "This middle state, presented as so desirable, what state is, it? what amount of income goes to constitute it?" I answer that it is not the same to all. What is wealth to one man would be poverty to another; what is a middle state for one would be a low state for another, and a high one for a third. He is poor whose expenses are greater than his means; and he is not so who lives within his means, and spends less than he earns or owns. By "poor" we too often designate all who live by labour, but this is a loose and improper way of speaking. He only is poor who cannot maintain the scale of living and the kind of appearance he has assumed. The way to the true happy mean between riches and poverty is the old-fashioned way of industry and frugality. Of industry the effects are better understood than those of saving. The objects and occasions that make it a duty to save are some of them distant ones, and others are not sure to arise. And the sums we can spare from our immediate wants are so small that they seem scarcely worth laying by. But the result of small savings is considerable at last.
(A. Gibson, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: