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What we owe

        These verses of Proverbs have been separated by the translators because they appear to be written about different subjects. However, I present to you that they are all the same subject. They are written in the form of instructive conversation. I would like to highlight their main points so that we might glean wisdom from them as intended. {To read the entire passage, please click on the verse address underlined and in blue at the top of this synopsis}

    To begin, let us understand that this passage is discussing debt. When we think about debt in our modern society, we generally believe that some measure of debt is to be expected and even required. As a matter of fact, one of the criteria that Americans are judged on when they attempt to purchase a big ticket item such as a house is if they have any debt and if they do not, the will be denied the purchase. The intention, of course is to show that the person is mature enough to manage their debt responsibly. But what does God say about debt? Without building an entire exegesis on the subject, let it suffice to say that the Lord understands that there are times when debt must be acquired. For in Deuteronomy 28, one of the blessings He promises to those who keep His commands is that they will lend and not have to borrow {Deut 28:12}.Thus we see that God is not diametrically opposed to the assumption of debt. However, two verses present themselves in particular that summarily conclude God’s opinion on the matter. First, 

        Proverbs 22:7:

                    "7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower [is] servant to the lender.”

and second

            Luke 6:35

                    35 "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil."

In each of these verses, we see that although God understands debt, it is not His best for His children. In His intimate dealings with us, He breaks down the subject of debt even further in Proverbs 6:1-11, wherein He gives us practical insight into the causes of debt and how to relieve ourselves from it. 

    Proverbs 6:1 states that if we have promised to pay something then we are obligated to pay it. We have captured ourselves with our own mouths according to verse 2. Then God says in verse 3 that we are to immediately go to our debtor and ask for easier terms. We are not to rest until we have negotiated with the lender softer, more manageable terms, such as lower interest rates or lower payments. Remember that in Luke 6:35, God speaks to those who lend when He tells them to lend but not hope that they will receive anything back. He is preparing their hearts for those who have borrowed to come and plead with them for leniency. Would to God that we would lend this way!! 

    God is not, however a fan of acquiring debt and simply asking away from it. In fact, Psalm 37:21 says that it is the wicked who do not pay what they owe. The Lord certainly does not want His children engaging in the same actions that the wicked engage in so He gives us a solution when we find ourselves in over our heads with debt. Verse 6 begins with the comparison between an ant and a lazy human. God points out to us in verses 6- 8 that an ant is always ready and always has enough because it is always preparing when it is given the chance to. The lazy human, however does not prepare and because of this, their need seems to creep up on them. {v. 11} The lazy person does not possess any forethought nor does he act when given the opportunity. He would rather be at ease because all of his immediate needs and desires are met. 

    Let it be understood however that our preparation must be based solely on the instruction of God. We are not to just waste our lives working so that we may amass great wealth for a rainy day. We must allow the Lord of our provision to instruct us when to save, what to save, and when and what to spend. 

    In conclusion, it is not a sin to acquire debt as long as we have discussed it with the Lord. Once we do acquire it, however, it is our duty to relieve ourselves from it as quickly as we can by shrewd negotiations, hard work, and diligence. 

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