Today: [Proverbs 6] Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? In chapter 6 of Proverbs we find again many inconvenient and discomforting subjects confronted head on. Have you ever loaned money or something else and didn’t get it back? Have you ever suffered financially because you got in a business deal with a friend or family member? Is it EVER appropriate to loan money to anyone? Solomon instructs his son concerning these things as well as listing 7 things that God hates and giving additional instructions extended from the previous chapter regarding the perils of sexual immorality.
[Pro 6:1-35 KJV] 1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, [if] thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter], and as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. 12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
In Proverbs chapter 6 we find a laundry list of warnings from Solomon to his son and to all men in particular.
1. Warning against underwriting the debts of others.
2. Warning against laziness and sloth.
3. Warning against wicked men.
4. Warning against 7 things God hates.
5. Warning against harlotry and adultery.
What about the warning against surety? Is it not laudable that one would co-sign or become signator on a financial obligation in order to help his friend? Coming from an older generation the lack of wisdom for this course of action goes without saying. Ask me how I know? Because in my youth I’ve made decisions like this to my own hurt. Unfortunately the most lasting lessons are learned through harsh experience. Such instructions as Solomon gives here are intended to spare you making the mistakes of others by teaching you through precept. Becoming financially involved with family or close friends in such a manner is a sure way to destroy a relationship. It doesn’t matter how close you think you are or how lasting your friendship it is absolutely and strongly advisable not to loan money to friends, execute co-signatories with friends or place any financial instrument between you. Even where family is concerned these types of decisions will ultimately put immeasurable stress on a relationship and inevitably destroy them altogether.
In my lifetime I have come to a place in my heart that I will absolutely loan nothing. I will not loan a book, a yard implement or any such thing unless I first measure the cost of such a thing as first considering it an outright gift. In other words if I cannot freely and without any further thought to the subject simply give the item to the person in question then I will not loan it. In fact over the years I cannot remember ever loaning anything but I remember giving many, many things to people that they asked me to loan them. Book are a common example. I have been a collector of books. Over the years I have own 1000’s of books of various subjects. My policy is currently that once I have read a book I give it away if at all possible, to someone I think will be benefitted and will actually read it. Of the books I have loaned which have been many in my early years I cannot remember one single instance of a book being returned to me even by the most reputable and trustworthy of friends. There is frustration associated with that and therefore my purpose is merely to be willing to give it expecting it never to return. If it happens to find its way again from the hand of my friend and returns to me again it is a sweet surprise.
What about money? Better to give it. If you cannot give it, do not loan it. If you feel you must loan then you must do so counting the cost as the ultimate loss of the relationship. Money issues destroy friendships. Jesus spoke of such things actually as a core value of His teaching:
[Luk 6:32-36 KJV] 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
What is Jesus saying here? When you “lend, hoping for nothing again” that is not a loan as we understand it – it is a gift. In Proverbs 19 Solomon said this:
[Pro 19:17 KJV] 17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
This is one of the most powerful blessing scriptures in the bible but people are seldom taught. The Old Testament instructed the Levites to tithe to the temple but they were also instructed to give to the poor in an amount that actually constituted 15.7 percent of their increase. Can you imagine this being taught in pulpits today? Giving is a powerful force in our lives. When we give and specifically when we give to the poor the Lord will repay – and He always pays back with generous interest.
13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness [is] in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. 20 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and [when] thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
Here in this passage we find the 7 things that God hates:
1. The proud look.
2. The lying tongue.
3. Hands that shed innocent blood.
4. A heart that devises mischief.
5. Feet that are swift to mischief.
6. A false witness (that corroborates a lie).
7. He that sows discord among brethren.
Let’s look at number 7 as it is a great scourge in Christian circles. How many times have you been solicited by a brother or a sister to engage in slander against a church, a ministry or another believer? It usually begins with “I don’t want to gossip – but there is something I need you to pray with me about…” You know in that instant that you are about to get dumped on with something so vile that you will need to take a bath afterward. The gamesmanship and one-ups-man-ship in the body of Christ and religious culture has been refined over the centuries to an absolute art form. God absolutely hates such things. It is amazing that of all the things that pulpiteers insist that God hates, they seldom mention these 7 things. If it was left to the choice of many leaders today that list would look very different than it does.
Let us ask the question – what does gossip constitute? It is a fact that there are times that things must be discussed. When does something you are aware of and is repeated to you or by you cross the line and constitute gossip? If you are talking to someone who is a part of the problem or a part of the solution, then that is not gossip. Gossip is repeating something to someone who is neither a part of the solution nor part of the problem. You might ask “well don’t they have the right to know and don’t I have the right to say anything I want?” Not in the economy of God. There is no right to know in the economy of God. Learn to trim your words. Learn to rebuff gossip and gossip mongers lest they pull you into to this vile activity that God despises and hates so much as Solomon declares.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a whorish woman [a man is brought] to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30 [Men] do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31 But [if] he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32 [But] whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he [that] doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy [is] the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
Adultery is a hot topic or subject in any generation. There are those who believe if you are divorced and remarried that you are living in perpetual adultery and in fact have lost your salvation. The early church went so far as to forbid widows and widowers to remarry even after the death of their spouse. If a person lost their spouse in the early church and chose to remarry they were excommunicated as adulterers and considered anathema in this world and in the next.
Marriage and divorce rates in the US have shifted dramatically in the last many decades. In reality, according to the CDC only 7 people out of a 1000 in the US even choose to get married in the first place. Did you hear that? 7 out of a 1000. That tells us that statistically marriage and the institution of marriage in the US is all but dead. Beyond that of those getting married, just under ½ will get a divorce. What about evangelical households? Surely in the born again community the marriage and divorce rate is not that abysmal. Divorce rates in the bible belt states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma are the highest in the nation. On a comparative scale between Evangelicals on the one hand and atheists and agnostics on the other – evangelicals have the highest divorce rate – much higher than those who don’t even believe in God. What does that tell us? It tells us frankly that the born-again community in the US particularly does not hold the moral high ground in defense of the institution of marriage. What is the answer? A re-examination of many things including as we read in the passages of Proverbs a discussion regarding how we prepare our youth and the single community for dealing with the issues relating to the opposite sex, co-habitation and future marriage.
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