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(#48) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:26-Corrupt Commerce

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 11:26: “The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”

It is bad business to withhold products that are needed. “Buy low and sell high” may be popular in the Stock Market, but in the marketplace, it loses future business! Companies, or individuals, who buy up needed products in “bad” times, in order to sell them at higher prices during “harder” times, not only incur the wrath of customers, but also the curse of God, Himself. In condemning corrupted Israel, God gave Amos a vision for those “who swallow up the needy, And make the poor of the land fail, Saying: ‘When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, Falsifying the scales by deceit, That we may buy the poor for silver, And the needy for a pair of sandals-Even sell the bad wheat?’” (Amos 8:4-6). “Swallowing up the needy,” and “making the poor fail” describe business and/or governmental practices that slant economics away from hard work being rewarded with honest pay and profit. Those evil practices included: cutting product sizes with short scales, while increasing the price of the goods sold; making the “poor” go into such debt they are bought for “silver;” reducing them down to such need their price is the same as shoes; and selling them damaged goods! Today, this would be called “re-packaging,” “inflation,” “over-extended credit buying,” “depression economy,” and “selling expired goods.”

When the Israelites were returned to their Promised Land, fulfilling all prophecies on that subject, the “nobles’ and rulers’” practices were listed as: “For there were those who said, ‘We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.’ There were also some who said, ‘We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.’ There were also those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards’” (Nehemiah 5:2-5). When the leaders of a people, whether business or government, adopt practices or legislation that take unfair advantage of the hard-working families under their care, God will hold them accountable. James wrote: “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). Jesus Christ endorsed truth with: “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7); “he who reaps receives wages” (John 4:36); and Paul added to this with: “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Romans 4:4). Wages are earned, not given, and everything that is done to keep honest work from being rewarded with honest wages is against God’s Will!

Another proverb upholds this teaching: Proverbs 30:14: “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”

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

#bible-study, #business, #corporation, #depression, #earned, #economy, #fraud, #government, #hard-times, #harder-times, #inflation, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #slavery, #tax, #wages

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(#47) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:24-25- Banking on Giving

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 11:24-25: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.”

The benefits of “generosity” are summarized here with: it comes back to you. The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” visualizes the principle of helping others in a way that helps them be able to help you back. The “one who scatters” in verse 24 is the “generous soul” of verse 25. It is the “generous soul” who is “rich,” and the one who “waters” (shares blessings) will “be watered himself.” Moses’ Law required a generous spirit to the “poor man of your brethren” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11). Solomon showed generosity to an enemy can act like punishment on his conscience: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22), which the Apostle Paul bound on Christians (Romans 12:20). Jesus Christ had extended this spirit to our “enemies” (Luke 6:27-31) ending with the words, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Other proverbs which teach this thought are: Proverbs 19:17: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given;” Proverbs 22:9: “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Isaiah prophesied of “a righteous king” who would see to it things were set straight (Isaiah 32:5-7), ending with, “a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.” Whenever there are “hard times,” whether caused by unemployment, marriage problems, short supply of goods, this principle of generosity will be sorely tested! Sometimes generosity is the only “line of credit” we are given that we must remember when our situation improves.

The other side is of the “one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.” This is the stingy, greedy, selfish person who sees no more than his/her own needs, and always lives lonely. The “poverty” is not only of goods, but of friendships, as well! One may become poor by holding onto whatever he possesses! Other proverbs call this oppression and mocking the poor: Proverbs 14:31: “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy;” Proverbs 17:5: “He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished;” Proverbs 22:22-23: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them;” Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses;” Proverbs 29:7: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor, But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.”

Jesus Christ established this generosity for the church: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

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

#bible-study, #generosity, #giving, #hard-times, #poor, #poverty, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #stingy, #wisdom