“If only I had a little more money…”
“If only I were a little more attractive, or a little less flabby…”
“If only there were more than twenty-four hours in a day…”
How many times have we made declarations like these? We like to use our imaginations and envision a nice life to enjoy, but only if we had a little bit more or a bit better off than we have right now.
But do things get better if we just get a little bit more?
The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, “Give, give.” There are three things that are never satisfied, Yea, four that say not, “Enough”: Sheol; and the barren womb; the earth that is not satisfied with water; And the fire that saith not, “Enough” (Proverbs 30:15-16).
Agur’s words are wise but need some unpacking. Many of his wise sayings in Proverbs 30 involve situations in life which he uses to establish principles of wisdom.
Here he speaks of four things he has found that are never satisfied: Sheol, the Hebrew word for the underworld, since people keep dying; the barren womb, illustrations of which can be found with Rachel in Genesis 30:1 and Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-8; the ground, constantly absorbing moisture; and fire, which will not stop burning until extinguished or until it runs out of fuel or oxygen.
But Agur’s main concern is not these four: these four illustrate his main concern, indicated in Proverbs 30:14-15a: a generation of greedy children. Children want more and more; there is never “enough.” The same is true for adults.
It is easy to be like Sheol, the barren womb, the ground, and fire. There are some things which we enjoy having or using and we never get tired of them. If there are things which we want but cannot obtain for whatever reason, we easily feel deprived and cannot find satisfaction in anything else. There are some good things which we enjoy to excess. We think we can control our desires; far too often, our desires begin to control us, and we can never satisfy them enough.
Our eyes are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20); we will always be tempted to want more than what we have. We must not be deceived: it will never be enough. We might want a bit more money; if we get more money, our expenses will likely rise, and we will want even more money. Some of the wealthiest people still seek more money! The same goes for popularity, sex, stuff, appearance, and all things in life. Desire for more begets desire for more!
The secret to the satisfied life is contentment: as the Apostle Paul has said, we have brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of it, and so we do best to find satisfaction in having enough food and shelter and what we already have (1 Timothy 6:6-10). To focus on what we are not or do not have cannot help us glorify God by using what He has given us already to serve others. Let us find joy in what God has given us, and not pine our lives away pursuing insatiable desires!
Ethan R. Longhenry