In Proverbs chapter six you will find four major subjects introduced: They are of financial prudence in verses 1-11. The matter of gossip and discord are addressed in verses 12-19. Obedience to parents is addressed in verses 20-23. Lastly, additional warnings about adultery and sexual immorality are addressed in verses 24-35.
This morning we will focus our attention upon the first eleven verses of Proverbs six. Two major areas of instruction are presented as we consider the section concerning financial prudence. The first area of instruction speaks about being a cosigner on a note or loan, while the second area of instruction speaks about learning from the industrious example established by examining the actions of the ant.
Notice first, the warning concerning cosigning a note. Proverbs 6:1-5, 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 thought of surety is that of being a co-signer on a loan for a friend. Solomon warns his son that such an arrangement is a trap entered into by one’s own agreement. While the intentions are good, it usually is cause for great trouble. Here is how Solomon tells his son to deal with such a circumstance, "...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." Solomon’s advice to his son was to get out of that arrangement as quickly as possible. Cosigning is like walking into a trap, it isn't that it is morally evil, it just isn't wise financially. Not only can it cost you money, but more importantly, it can cost you a friend.
Verse six through eleven gives further financial advice. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." Verses six through eight use the ant as an example of industry. The word "sluggard" has the thought of one who is lazy or unmotivated in life. The ant looks ahead, is motivated, is disciplined, and a self-starter. All are great traits for us to develop as God's servants. Dr. David Sorenson states in his commentary, Understanding the Bible: "The illustration is of taking the long look. The "now" generation has always been around. Those who live for today and ignore tomorrow often find themselves in a pickle when tomorrow inevitably comes. Implicit is the thought of working today to save for tomorrow. Fools live by the philosophy of enjoying thyself today. Wise men live by the philosophy of being productive today to save for tomorrow. Fools blow their money today. Wise men invest for tomorrow."
Solomon now warns, "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." Sleep is something we all need, but it is also a snare to the sluggard. Being sluggish leads to poverty and want. Two thoughts are presented in verse eleven, one of a constant traveler (transient bum) and one of an armed man, one who because of need, turns to robbery and theft. One can only imagine how many people are in need because of a lifestyle focused on living for today rather than looking forward to the future. The flesh lives to indulge itself now. The regenerated spirit of a man prepares for this life and the one to come.
May each one reap a blessed harvest from wise living, avoiding the mistake of co-signing, and refusing to be a sluggard.
May God bless you as you meditate upon His Word throughout the day.
Your Friend and His,