Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
This simple statement of fact represents the cause of many unnecessary hardships experienced by the majority of people worldwide. As is always reiterated in the Bible, the counsels written in the word of God were penned for our benefit and should never be viewed from the prohibitory side. Being indebted financially is not God's will, and although it has become the norm in modern society, yet it falls far short of God's ideal for His children. As it stands currently, most of us are saddled with some type of debt, whether it be credit cards, school loans, mortgages, or car notes, and thus credit has become a trillion dollar industry. Even Governments have become trapped in its snare and the more we borrow, the more we become fastened in it's grip.
Some of the instructions given to us in the Bible as it pertains to the snare of debt include principles governing the borrower and the lender. To begin with, it was not God's will for His people to be submerged in debt. Let's read:
Deuteronomy 28:12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
But even if by a wrong course of action they were to become involved in the snare of debt, then there were certain guidelines and principles they were to follow. Let's read:
Deuteronomy 24:10 When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. 11 Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. 12 And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: 13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God.
Deuteronomy 23:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deuteronomy 15:1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the Lord's release. 3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release; 4 Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: 5 Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day. 6 For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.
However there were instances, when in times of difficulty, the people became entangled in debt and their experiences sound a note of warning and caution to those of us who may be dealing with similar situations. As we read, let's reason from cause to effect and thus make the necessary adjustments and changes by the grace of God, where needed. Let's read:
Nehemiah 5:1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. 2 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. 3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. 4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. 6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
One of the contributing factors to indebtedness is the practice of spending money before it is earned. The inordinate abuse of credit as a cash cow, triggers the snare of indebtedness to which countless millions have fallen prey. The Bible teaches the principle of contentment which includes living within our means, and therefore, the habit of spending money before it is actually earned, sets us up for failure and defeat in the future. This is the specter we're facing, both individually and nationally, and if the problem is not addressed decisively, and soon, it would work ruin, embarrassment, and financial collapse to those who continue to be ensnared in its deadly tentacles.
The Bible therefore gives us useful and practical instructions on how these unfortunate situations can be avoided. Let's read:
1st timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Philippians11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
May these instructions form the cornerstone of reform, both individually and nationally, so that we may escape from the deadly snare of debt, for this is the ideal will of God in this matter. God bless!