(#40) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:15-Are You Sure, or “Surety?”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:15: “He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.”

In our Lesson #15, the explanation for why being “surety” was dangerous was explained in Proverbs 6:1-5. The person who becomes “surety” (guaranty or collateral) for a friend’s (or a relative’s!) debt, has “come into the hand of your friend.” To obligate our self with another’s debt shows that we are “devoid of understanding” as to how these things work.

Other proverbs that cover this subject are: “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend” (Proverbs 17:18); “Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, And hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress” (Proverbs 20:16); “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, One of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take away your bed from under you?” (Proverbs 22:26-27); “Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger, And hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress” (Proverbs 27:13). If a stranger is faithless enough to go into “a seductress” (Proverbs 5-7), and you are left holding his “garment” as a “pledge,” then how much will he have left when she is through with him and you have his necessary clothing? “For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life” (Proverbs 6:26). We can become so over-obligated, we could lose our “bed from under” us. In our credit-riddled, debt-ridden society, these are words to heed!

To assume the debt of “a stranger” is to step into a bond with someone we may not know as well as we thought. This appears to be behind the statement to Christians by Paul: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14), which he explains in 2 Corinthians 6:15-18. There must be a line maintained between caution and fellowship.

God prohibited taking a “neighbor’s” garment for collateral in Moses’ Law: “If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down” (Exodus 22:26). This was his necessary clothing pawned for a debt; it was a “neighbor” who lived close by; and even Proverbs 17:18 warns of being surety “for his friend.” Those who mismanage their own finances, but never learn God’s Wisdom from their experiences, surely are disqualified at dealing with, or advising, everyone else!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #collateral, #credit, #debt, #fellowship, #harlot, #pawned, #pledge, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #stranger, #surety, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs #10

(#10) Wisdom’s 2 Simple Rules for Life 3:27-35

Verses 27-30: How to “Love Your Neighbor.”

Verse 27: “Due” is the operative word. This refers to what is owed, whether something purchased, work hired, or payment promised. Moses’ Law required this: “’You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning” (Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15). The wisdom of Solomon required this: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6). First Century Jews had long since lost this practice: “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (James 5:4). It is not wrong to buy on credit, but it is wrong to not pay when you can and should!

Verse 28: Delaying promised assistance to one’s neighbor is an evil exercise that  frustrates mercy. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17).

Verse 29: It’s bad enough to frustrate mercy to a neighbor in need, but to “devise evil” takes this to a newer, lower level of indecency! The word “neighbor” literally describes the ones closer to us than the rest of the world, and they probably have chosen our “safety” for neighborhood. This is a main missing ingredient in “the hood,” for neighbors should be able to rely upon each other for “safety” when police cannot always be there. “Neighborhood Watches” should be the order of the day everywhere.

Verse 30: In our litigious society, this must be re-instated! It is easy to ignore this rule of “neighborliness” when TV commercials are creating band wagonloads of people wanting to “sue” someone for something. Lawsuits should be limited to “harm done,” not in order to establish some “harm done!”

Verses 31-35: How to NOT Get “Suckered Into the Wrong Crowd!”

Verses 31-32: Don’t envy them. “The oppressor” who sues for no other reason than greed and who “devises evil” against neighbors shows a tyrant stripe wide enough to be seen! He/she/they should not be “envied” (desire what they obtain) because what they are doing is “perverse” and an “abomination to the LORD.” This unyielding damnation on their “oppression” should show this as a wrong path for the righteous. We may not see that God meets with the righteous, not oppressors!

Verses 33-35: Accept God’s Awaiting Judgments. God curses the “house of the wicked,” but “blesses the home of the just,” that is, He will not bless those whose will is to be wicked, and He will bless those who seek to do right. Verse 34 is quoted in James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 as: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” and in both passages this is a reason to “be humble.” Do not count “the legacy of fools” by their money, influence, power, glory, murders, conquests, but by their standing before Almighty God!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #cheating, #credit, #debt, #god, #neighbor, #neighborliness, #owing, #pay, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #suing, #teaching, #wages, #wisdom

A Shattered Dream

My dream of being able to retire at 52 years of age, was shattered when the gas pipeline company with whom I was employed, laid off myself and 550 other employees in 1996. The cutoff date was twelve days before my 52nd birthday (they would have given me credit as if I were 55 years old).

So much for company loyalty to its employees.

#age, #credit, #cutoff, #date, #dream, #employed, #employee, #gas, #laid, #pipeline, #retire, #shattered

A good leader is a person who takes a li…

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.

John C. Maxwell, pastor, author, leadership expert

#blame, #credit, #leader, #person, #share

There are two kinds of people: those who…

There are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.

Indira Gandhi, Indian prime minister (1917-1984)

#competition, #credit, #first, #group, #kind, #people, #work