Servant to the Lender
1. We have a proverb that follows the basic theme of this proverb: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
2. However, this proverb states more than the mere fact of it; it also adds one major reason WHY this occurs.
The rich ruleth over the poor
1. This part of the proverb states a sad fact of life: the rich DO rule over the poor.
a. Solomon is not saying that this is the way it SHOULD be. Rather, he is saying that this is the way it IS.
b. It is not right. It is not moral. It is not fair. It does not reflect the character of God or godliness. It is not the way God designed things to be.
c. However, it is the way things are in a sin cursed earth filled with six billion self-centered, selfish, power hungry sinners, all competing for supremacy.
d. This is the way things have been all throughout human history—apart from a very brief period in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
e. But ever since then, the rich (and therefore powerful) have ruled over the poor.
f. This has been the world’s pecking order ever since.
2. The rich RULE over the poor.
a. Rule: To rule; have dominion; reign; govern; control; be in charge; i.e., have a person or entity exercise authority over persons or governments.
b. Judg. 14:4 – In those days the Philistines had dominion (same word) over Israel.
c. II Sam. 23:3 – God has made it clear that HE expects those who rule over others to do so with JUSTICE: righteousness, fairness.
3. The RICH:
a. There is a clear advantage to having wealth… on so many levels.
b. Wealth places a person in a position of dominance and power.
c. Money buys influence… in high places.
d. Money buys political clout.
• Companies with lots of money can afford lobbyists to do their bidding in Washington.
• The days of a poor man running for president are over in this country.
• It is necessary to spend millions upon millions of dollars to run for high office.
• Prov. 17:8 – Money also “buys” favors from those in power… Such “gifts” (bribes) can be very influential.
e. Money buys (so called) “justice” in the court system.
• Prov. 17:23 – wicked men use “gifts” to pervert justice.
• Michael Jackson spent $20 million to hush the families accusing him of child abuse. Innocent people don’t do that. Poor people CANNOT do that… but the rich can.
• The wealthy can afford the very best lawyers. Poor people have to rely on the lawyers provided by the state—who very often cannot match the skill of an expensive attorney.
f. Money buys superior military might.
• Very often this translates into raw power… even world dominance.
• A poor country with an ill equipped military is easily overtaken by a rich country that is able to afford the latest technology.
4. The POOR:
a. This term is used to denote a person who has few resources and little standing or influence in a society.
b. I Sam. 18:23 – David spoke of himself (prior to being king) as a “poor man and of little esteem.”
c. Being poor implied not only poor financially, but most often it also spoke of being in a lower class with little to no voice in society… no political clout… no political power…
d. Thus, being poor meant being weak.
• A poor city could easily be overtaken by a wealthy city because it would not be able to afford the military equipment needed for battle: horses; chariots; etc.
• Poverty places a person at a disadvantage… they are in a position of weakness.
e. Prov. 29:7 – Evil men who are rich and powerful care nothing for the condition of the poor.
f. Hab. 3:14 – Even worse, they often DEVOUR the poor. They take advantage of them.
g. Jas. 5:4 – the wealthy often DEFRAUD the poor.
h. Prov. 22:16 – The wealthy often OPPRESS the poor to increase their own riches.
i. This is the sad plight of the poor and has been throughout world history.
j. This includes our own country too.
k. When it comes to wealth, advantage, and power, all men are NOT created equal.
l. Some are born into abject poverty. Others are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
m. Some are born to heroin addicts. Others are born into blue blood families with gobs of old money… and go to all the best schools.
n. Before God, they are all equal, but in the world, that is not the case.
o. The rich RULE over the poor… and often take advantage of them.
p. This is a sad fact of life in a cursed earth.
And the borrower is servant to the lender.
1. One main REASON WHY the rich often are able to rule over the poor is because they have money to LOAN to the poor.
2. The rich do not normally loan money to the poor unless it is to their own personal advantage.
3. They loan money to the poor to MAKE money off the poor by charging interest…
4. II Kings 4:1-2 – Here is the story of the widow of a poor prophet.
a. After her husband died, she was left in poverty.
b. Evidently she had to borrow money from the creditor, and was unable to pay her debt.
c. It appears that she gave him everything in her house, for it was empty.
d. Now that she had nothing left, she feared that he would come and take her two sons! Creditors can be quite cruel.
e. Thus, she and her sons were in danger of becoming SERVANTS to the lender… literal slaves!
5. The point of this part of the proverb is that borrowing money is a sure way to become a slave of sorts… a slave to the lender.
6. As individuals, we can become slaves to a house loan.
a. This is a huge problem in our country.
b. The financial mess we are in is largely due to the fact that people bought more house than they could afford!
c. And the system in place facilitated that kind of foolish lending and borrowing.
7. We can also become slaves to a credit card company.
a. We have people buying more material goods than they can afford by simply putting it on a credit card… which charges exorbitant interest rates.
b. That can become like slavery of our own doing.
c. And for many, it is very hard (if not impossible) to be set free.
8. As a nation we can also become slaves to the lender.
a. It seems that we are borrowing more money than we are able to pay back.
b. We are borrowing money from countries that do not have our best interest in mind—like China.
c. National debt has become a big problem.
d. It seems like a mild case of insanity to think that we can SPEND our way out of debt.
e. Those in charge of the economy are much smarter than I on those matters, but I wonder what school of economics taught them that!
f. If I owe too much money, spending more doesn’t make the problem go away. It only exacerbates the problem. I’m no economist, but I do know that it doesn’t work in my household!
g. Perhaps we should obey the Bible and PRAY for all those in authority! The decisions they make can affect our lives and the lives of our children in many ways… including financially.
h. Deut. 28:12 – One of the blessings God promised Israel in the future was that they would no longer be the borrower but the lender… they would be the head and not the tail.
9. This proverb really stands as a WARNING: beware of borrowing!
a. Borrowing should be done on rare occasions.
b. Debts should be paid off as quickly as possible.
c. Financial debt can be a burden around the neck.
d. It can become a form of financial slavery.
e. In a sense, when in debt, we walk around with a ball and chain attached.
f. And it limits our lives as well. You cannot go off to be a missionary if you are head over heels in debt.
g. Matthew Henry wrote: “Some sell their liberty to gratify their luxury.”
h. It might seem great for the moment, but eventually living beyond our means catches up to us.
i. The end of that road is financial slavery.
10. Some believers have assumed that this proverb condemns borrowing money.
a. Some believers actually think it is a SIN to take out a loan or borrow money.
• They usually base this belief on this passage and on Rom. 13:8 – where Paul says, “Owe no man anything.”
• The Bible Knowledge Commentary suggests the following translation: “Let no debt remain outstanding.” (lit., “Do not keep on owing anyone anything”) except the continuing debt to love one another (lit., “except loving one another”).
• We ought not to get BEHIND on any of our payments, but the Bible does not forbid loans altogether.
• If the payment is due on the first of the month and you do not have the money, then you OWE.
• Rom.13:8 could NOT mean that we are never to be in debt because the previous verses (Rom.13:7) just said that we are to render all their “dues.” (Pay what is owed to those who deserve it.) It means we are to pay what we owe.
• If this verse is teaching that we should NEVER borrow anything, then ALL borrowing would therefore be sin.
» Borrowing a book from a library; a cup of sugar from a neighbor…
» That would also mean that loaning was sin – because it encourages others to borrow (sin).
» However, the Scriptures do NOT condemn the concept of borrowing and lending.
» For example:
→ Ps. 112:5 – “A good man showeth favor and lendeth…”
→ II Kings 6:5 – A prophet borrowed an ax
→ Ex. 22:24 – Borrowing and loaning money was regulated but it was not forbidden.
→ Ex. 11:2 – God actually commanded the Jews to borrow from the Egyptians during the days of the Exodus.
→ Matt. 5:42 – Jesus told His disciples not to turn away someone who wanted to borrow money from them.
→ Deut. 15:8 – Lending is encouraged.
b. Prov. 22:7 neither condemns nor condones borrowing. It is simply a WARNING about the danger of borrowing money: you could become a slave!
c. The thought of becoming a slave ought to make us think twice before we sign on the dotted line for a loan.
• Can we meet the payments?
• How tight will my finances be if I borrow more?
• What are the penalties for paying off early, or for making a payment late?
• Have I read the fine print?
• Do I really NEED to borrow this money?
• Could I wait until I have enough cash to buy it?