What is Needful

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
(Proverbs 30:8-9)

This proverb outlines two extremes when dealing with material possessions: the rich and the poor.

There is the rich person who has everything, and who does not have a single need that is not met in their lives. Because of the contentment and comfort of their riches, they cannot see a reason to need anything more than what they have, or need anyone to give them something they are missing.

Then there is the poor person who has absolutely nothing, and has many needs in their life, including a need for food. They are so desperate for a meal that they resort to stealing from someone else to satisfy that need.

What is common between these two people? Both declare they have no need for God. The rich person is in a condition where they deny God because they do not see their need for Him. The poor person is in a condition where they deny God because they do not see Him meeting their needs.

So the writer of the proverb is praying that they never be in either of these conditions because they do not want to lose sight of what is needful, knowing God.

I can say that apart from my own decision to forgo eating, I have not lived a day without a meal. I can even say that the majority of my life I have had a breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. I don't know what it is like to be poor and pray the words, "give us this day our daily bread" in the hope for a slice of bread.

But is food the most important thing that we humans need? To stay physically alive, yes we need food. Without it, our bodies would begin to break down, and we would eventually starve to death. But what about when we die?

After Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights, He was tempted in the wilderness. What was His first response to the temptations of Satan?

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

It is not physical food that Man truly needs, but spiritual food.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:35

To eat of this bread is to come to Jesus by faith alone, believing that He alone can provide what is needful for your soul: the complete and perfect atonement of your sins, to be counted righteousness on His behalf, and to be reconciled to God.

The desperate need that everyone has is to be in Christ.