Debt, Laziness, and Cruelty

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Devotional Word for Wednesday, September 2, 2020

We all hope we learn from our mistakes and gain wisdom through the process, so that we do not make the same mistake twice. Likewise, as parents or grandparents, we want to offer sound advice to our children and grandchildren, so they do not repeat them either. Nevertheless, children are not always persuaded by the advice received, even by those known and loved, who are only looking out for their best interests. 

In Proverbs 6:1-15, we read about three damaging courses people might take in life. The first course is self-afflicted indebtedness to a stranger. The second course is self-induced laziness. The third course is self-contrived cruelty. All these courses are detrimental to anyone living by them; but they are also caustically injurious to anyone linked to and/or impacted by them. Let us examine each of these harmful paths of living in more detail.

1st, let’s consider the self-inflicted indebtedness in Proverbs 6.1-5. To incur debt is to be under obligation to a creditor. As Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” The current debt of the United States of America is estimated at 23.2 trillion dollars. The national debt has exceeded the annual GDP in the USA. 

The current population of the United States of America is estimated at 330 million people. When you divide the national debt by the amount of U.S. citizens, the estimated amount of debt per person is $70,000.00. Indebtedness is proven to be a dangerous snare to avoid because it leads to poverty and ruin. Hence, this portion of Proverbs has great importance for us as Americans today. 

To make this fact even more dire is the lender is not a trusted friend, but a stranger, a foreigner. The two largest foreign holders of public U.S. government debt are Japan at 1.26 trillion dollars and the second is China. To make a pledge to a stranger is to be ensnared by your words, and the best thing to do is to speedily get out from it, by all means possible.  Proverbs 6:3-5 “… deliver yourself … go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.” Do not sleep nor snooze; do not take a break or relax, rather deliver yourself as a gazelle flees from a hunter’s trap. 

2nd, let’s assess the self-induced laziness in Proverbs 6.6-11. A sluggard is a person who does not want to start things, complete things, or face things in life. He is unreliable and concedes himself to a life of ease and idleness; he sticks to nothing, he produces nothing, and he worries about nothing. He is slothful and careless and always in want. 

This portion of Proverbs tells anyone living in this dismal condition to learn from the created instincts of the ant. Proverbs 6:6-9 “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer, or ruler, prepares her food … and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down … when will you arise from your sleep?” The outcome for living by self-induced laziness is sudden poverty and deep-rooted cravings of unmet need.

3rd, let’s evaluate the self-contrived cruelty in Proverbs 6.12-15. A violent man is a wicked man; his perverted bent is to lie, cheat, and use perverse speech, which originates from his depraved mind and heart. As the Lord Jesus taught of what defiles a man in Matthew 15:18-20, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

This sort of person has the temper of a serpent, slithering about and striking out with evil intent to unsuspecting people. He spreads his poisonous venom of evil continuously, to produce toxic strife among those he contacts. Falsehood, fraud, and cruelty are his methods of choice, and like the father of lies, who was a murderer from the beginning as Jesus said in John 8:44, he imitates the devil’s methods, which will end with sudden calamity and brokenness with no remedy of healing.   These detrimental courses of life are corrosive and deadly, and we are warned from God’s Word to turn away from them knowing these outcomes. Rather, may we live today fully embracing by faith our new life in Jesus Christ, by living “in the Light as He Himself is in the Light”, having fellowship with one another, knowing the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7