Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Proverbs 22 - Are You a Slave to Your Lender?

LINK: Proverbs 22

BACKGROUND

This chapter continues with more proverbs about:
  • A good reputation (22:1)
  • Money: attitude and actions toward the poor (22:2, 7, 9. 16, 22). Did you know that a generous man is literally "A good eye" while a stingy man is "an evil eye"?
  • Contrast between the prudent ("shrewd in a good sense") and naive (22:3, 27:12, 14:16)
  • Fear of the LORD (22:4)
  • Wickedness (22:5, 8)
  • Child Training (22:6, 15)
  • Mocking and strife (22:10)
  • Speech (22:11, 12)
  • Laziness (22:13)
  • Adultery (22:14)
Enjoy the wisdom of Proverbs today!

REFLECTION on Proverbs 22:7 (written in 2008)
A rich person rules poor people, and a borrower is a slave to a lender.
We live in tenuous financial times. We have seen a slew of foreclosures and bankruptcies with this latest economic downturn. My state, Oregon, is ranked number 9 of all the states in foreclosures. People are losing their jobs, and they cannot make their house payments. Times are very hard. See where you state ranks HERE.

Regarding debt:
In 2007, the average balance for those carrying a balance rose 30.4 percent, to
$7,300. Meanwhile, the median balance -- meaning half owe more and half owe less -- for those carrying a balance rose 25.0 percent, to $3,000. These increases followed slower changes over the preceding three years, when the median increased 9.1 percent and the average climbed 16.7 percent. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)


The average American with a credit file is responsible for $16,635 in debt, excluding mortgages, according to Experian. 
(Source: U.S. News and World Report, "The End of Credit Card Consumerism," August 2008)
It used to be a Christian principle to stay out of debt (with the exception of a mortgage), but we, as believers, have gone far from this Biblical principle. Many of us have become the lender's slave.

(Before I go on though, let me preface my remarks by saying that medical problems can send ANYONE into a sea of unavoidable debt. I worked in hospital admitting for several years, and I saw families wiped out because of a single accident or illness. My father spent 61 days in intensive care in 1985 and racked up a $350,000 bill. My parents had insurance that covered 100% of it, but many do not have insurance by no fault of their own. I did learn a valuable lesson: always carry insurance if you can!)

What I am talking about here is buying things you cannot afford and putting them on credit. The following skit illustrates this. It is funny but sadly true of many people: 

"Don't Buy Stuff"

While this skit speaks about consumer debt, we can also be enslaved to our mortgage when we buy a house that is outside of our price range. The bank often qualifies people far beyond what they can REALLY afford.

When we are in debt, we are enslaved and are not living in freedom.

Thankfully, I have seen many friends come out of this kind of bondage into financial freedom. Most have used Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Others have gone to non-profit foundations that helped them get out of debt. This is something I always cover with women I disciple. He has free online software to help you track "Every Dollar." 

I cannot begin to describe how much less stressed and FREE they feel after taking this brave step.

Do you need to take a step out of bondage into freedom?

APPLICATION

If you have become a lender's slave, check out the Total Money Makeover.

If you want to teach your kids how to manage their money before you release them into the world. Go to the above link and click on the "Kids, Teens, and Money" link on the left side. I did Dave Ramsey's high school curriculum in my home with a group of middle and high school students, and it was excellent! 

PRAYER

Lord, teach us to walk wisely with our money. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Interesting notes on Child Training: Proverbs 22:6

While not part of my main reflection this morning, I thought this commentary on child training might be interesting for some of you:
This is perhaps the best-known verse in Proverbs on child training. The other
verses on child-rearing (13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:17) are all on
discipline. The Hebrew word for train (ḥānaḵ) means to dedicate. It is used of
dedicating a house (Deut. 20:5), the temple (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chron. 7:5), and an image (Dan. 3:2). The noun ḥănukkâh speaks of the dedication of an altar (Num.7:10; 2 Chron. 7:9) and of the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 12:27). Only in Proverbs 22:6 is the verb translated “train.” Ḥānaḵ seems to include the idea of setting aside, narrowing, or hedging in. The word is sometimes used in the sense of “start.” Child-training involves “narrowing” a child’s conduct away from evil and toward godliness and starting him in the right direction. Gleason L. Archer points out that this Hebrew verb is similar to the Egyptian ḥ-n-k, which means “to give to the gods” or “to set up something for divine service.” He suggests that in verse 6 this gives “the following range of possible meanings: ‘Dedicate the child to God, ’ ‘Prepare the child for his future responsibilities, ’ ‘Exercise or train the child for adulthood.’” 
(Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, p. 252)

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