Proverbs 6:1-5
Prov 6:1 (KJB)
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
If thou be surety - If you have given security
Stricken - Carries the idea of fastening, like in hand shaking
Here Solomon counsels his son concerning becoming surety for a friend. This would be akin to someone who has co-signed a loan or vouched for someone. Solomon is not saying that it is forbidden but he is giving a warning that this is something which must be entered into very seriously. If you co-sign a loan for someone and they default, then you are responsible to pay that loan according to the law. In this verse there is also a warning about making a deal with someone you know nothing about. They may be totally honest but they also may be totally dishonest and may get you into trouble. It is always better to make deals with people you have known for a while so you can assess their character. Now there is a more serious aspect to this verse which must be brought to light. We must be very careful when we become spiritual surety, that is, we must never pronounce anyone saved just because they say a few words or do some type of work.
Giving someone false hope by means of assuring them that they are saved can lead to eternal destruction. This is why we hear so many people say they were Christians till they hit their teens and then they became rebellious. They thought they were Christians because someone became surety for them assuring them that they were saved. Christ is the only one who can be spiritual surety for someone because none of us can guarantee anotherís salvation. We may lead them to the Lord and we may pray with them but we can never truly know if they are saved unless they begin to live the true Christian life and continue in that life without going back into the world. As we know the unbeliever by their fruits, we will know the true believer by their fruits. If they continue in the truth, then we can conclude they have become truly saved. We will have a camaraderie with them but we must never assure someoneís salvation based upon any type of work they do.
Prov 6:2 (KJB)
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
Snared - Like one caught in a trap
Thou art taken - You have been caught
Once some type of agreement is established, we will not be able to get out of it. We must hold to it as if we are caught in a trap and unable to escape. This is why Solomon warns his son that our words can trap us into a situation that is not good for us. If we renege on the agreement, then it could cost us more if we are sued over it. The bottom line is that if we become surety for someone, our words will ensnare us and catch us as if we are in a trap. This is why we must enter into any agreement very slowly and cautiously. It does not matter whether it is business or some other type of agreement, it must be approached very carefully. Squirrels love peanut butter and if you set a trap for one and use peanut butter, they will enter that trap without hesitation. We must never be snared by promises of great things on the other end of the agreement because it may just turn out to be peanut butter. He who has ears to hear.
Prov 6:3 (KJB)
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.
(Prov 22:7 KJV) The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. As the borrower has become servant to the lender, and if you have become servant to the lender who may be your friend, go humble yourself to your friend and entreat him concerning the debtor that he will pay the debt. Since you have become surety, and if the debt has now come due, the onus is now on you but you must go to your friend, the lender, and ask him to give you time to speak to the debtor concerning his obligation. If the debtor does not pay, then you will realize what it is to be ensnared by your own words. Today many people strike bargains with lenders but if the lender is your friend, you do not want to see him lose on the deal either. It does place you in a very bad position.
Prov 6:4 (KJB)
Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
This verse is basically saying that you need to take care of this matter as soon as possible and not let it go until it becomes a point of contention. Remember, no one forced you to be surety for your friend. You did it out of loyalty and now that loyalty has shown you the character of your friend and it has dug you into a financial chasm. Today is the day you take care of the matter or you get proceedings going, that is why it counsels before you sleep.
Prov 6:5 (KJB)
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Just as a roe is in the scope of a hunterís rifle or a bird who is in the hand of the fowler. The fowler is one who kills wild fowl. Both of these scenarios are saying that just as the roe and the bird find it necessary to escape as quickly as possible, you must also settle this problem as quickly as you can. If you allow it to linger, you will have to pay much principal and interest if it is a financial dealing. In other words, do not be lazy, get to work and try to free yourself from this obligation as soon as you can. Just as the fowler and hunter set their sight on their prey, the lender also sets his sight on his prey, and in this case it is you.