28 September 2021

Proverbs 22:26-27

Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge
    or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
    your very bed will be snatched from under you.

The proverbs are quick to encourage generosity. They are also quick to discourage foolishness. It is generous to give and to give sacrificially. It is foolish to tie oneself to another man’s questionable ability to handle his money properly.

The very fact that a person needs another signer means something about him carries risk. Perhaps he simply has yet to build a credit history. Perhaps his credit history is poor. Perhaps he does not have sufficient equity to cover a loss. Whatever the case, there is risk. You should decide beforehand whether or not you can sufficiently cover the risk. If you decide that you can, you should already in your mind treat the co-signing as a gift given. If the other person comes through and you lose no money, then that is an added bonus.

Lending your name and property as security as a risk that you cannot afford, but that you do out of loyalty or guilt, helps no one. You put yourself in a worrisome position. Even should the other person come through, you meanwhile are anxious. If he does not come through, if he is late in coming through, there will be inevitable tension in your relationship and likely a break in it. Then there is the very real financial loss. If you are married and if you have children, your loss becomes theirs.

Again, it is not giving generously that is the issue here. It is committing to something that you have no control over – the ability of your neighbor making good on what he has committed to – that is the issue. Do not make commitments that, should they cause financial loss, you are not willing to accept such loss gracefully.

Remember, the Gospel is about giving treasure away. It is not about making loans that remain valuable to you and which will bring harm if not repaid.


Psalm 72

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
    the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
    your afflicted ones with justice.

May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
    the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
    and save the children of the needy;
    may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure[a] as long as the sun,
    as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
    like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish
    and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

May he rule from sea to sea
    and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth.
May the desert tribes bow before him
    and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
    bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
    present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
    and all nations serve him.

12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
    the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
    and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
    for precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
    May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
    and bless him all day long.
16 May grain abound throughout the land;
    on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
    and thrive[c] like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever;
    may it continue as long as the sun.

Then all nations will be blessed through him,[d]
    and they will call him blessed.

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
    who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.

20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.