Counsels On Lending. 03/05/2014 (Evening thought)

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:

In this passage of scripture is laid out God's ideal for His people who were to prosper tremendously if they followed the principles outlined in the ten commandments. As stated previously in several presentations, the laws and statutes given to us by the Lord are designed to make our ways prosperous in every which way. This fact is reiterated over and over again in the Bible. Let's read:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

3rd John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

However, because of a departure from the words of the Lord, or because of circumstances beyond our control, many have needed to burrow funds from individuals on different occasions, and therefore God gave pertinent instructions and guiding principles to govern such transactions. Monetary disputes have often been the source of a root of bitterness between brethren, and this need not be the case if the counsels, cautions and methods given to us by God are adopted.

To begin with, as Christians we should be willing to lend to fellow Christians if we can afford it. The Bible does not encourage a tight-fisted attitude, but rather an out-going, benevolent spirit that is sensitive to the needs of others and therefore quick to respond in times of necessity. Let's read:

Deuteronomy 15:7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:  8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.  9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.  10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

However, too often the personal lending transactions go contrary to what was expected, and so the word of God gives counsel regarding such situations. 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.

This means that the current methods of retrieving funds that were lent out to a fellow Christian need to be thoroughly evaluated. If a large sum of money was lent out to a fellow Christian who could not afford to repay it, or who for some reason is avoiding the one owed, then there are limitations as to the recourse of action that can be pursued. Under no circumstances should a Christian even think of carrying his brother or sister to court for remedial action in financial disputes, for this is antagonistic to the principles of God's kingdom. We should be ready and willing to forgive if it becomes necessary to do so in all  monetary issues. The Bible is very clear on this point. Let's read:

1st Corinthians 6:Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

The seriousness of this particular counsel leads us to the next pertinent instruction; that we should lend what we can afford to lose or do without. For instance, lending money that is set aside for one's mortgage is not a wise idea if losing it would place a person in financial jeopardy. God is very practical in His instructions to us, and it is His will that we take heed to them before rushing out to make grievous mistakes. Let's read:

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Another type of financial transaction between Christians, that often ends in unnecessary disputes is that of "standing security" or co-signing as a guarantor for loans, which in the Bible is referred to as "surety". We should only co-sign for that which we can afford to actually pay if needs be. The Bible does not specifically say that co-signing as a loan guarantor should not be done, but it does issue a firm caution as to the potential results. Let's read:

Proverbs 11:15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

Proverbs 17:18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend

Proverbs 6:1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,  2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.  3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.  4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.  5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

The over-arching principle for interaction with each other should be love, and whenever unfortunate circumstances arise between brethren in monetary matters, we should be ready and quick to forgive, not holding on to grudges, grievances, and wrongs for weeks, days and years. We therefore end this presentation with an exhortation given to encourage mutual forbearance and brotherly kindness in all the affairs of life. Let's read:

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

May God add His blessing to the study and practice of His word. "Good night" and God bless!