Summary: Good intentions don’t always end in good decisions. Intentions don’t define our lives, decisions do. We need to temper and steer our good intentions with wisdom and prudence
Types of Fools
Proverbs 6 is filled with various statements that counsel against foolish living. Solomon’s intent here is to teach his son how to live a godly, prudent, and productive life. He knows that the only way that this is possible is if he follow the ways of Wisdom, so he takes the time to teach him a few lessons he has learned.
As we look at these instructions from Solomon in Proverbs 6:1-19 it appears a bit disjointed. Earlier we looked at Proverbs 5, and the second half of chapter 6, all of which was about adultery. In chapter 7 he is continuing his instructing about the dangers of adultery and he is talking about the seduction of the simpleton. . But here in chapter 6 :1-19 we encounter loans, laziness, and what God hates. It feels out of place. Trying to force them into one common theme is a bit like trying to fit a square block through a circle or a triangle.
Now this doesn’t mean that the author Solomon made a mistake or these Proverbs are in the wrong place. Solomon put them here for a reason, but it can be challenging to understand why
I feel that he thinks that just like adultery can lead to financial loss and also spiritual loss these topics can also lead to financial loss and spiritual loss as well. So Solomon put them here “by way of association.” He’s saying "do not commit adultery", because that can ruin you, but also don't be surety for a loan or be lazy because that can ruin you as well
The argument in verses 1-5 is simple. If you have backed or guaranteed someone else’s debt, a friend or neighbor, get out . Backing a loan means that you pledge that if your friend don’t repay it on the due day you will pay for him
Notice the second half of verse one, “…if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger…” Why do we shake hands? For the same reason they shook hands. It’s an agreement based on mutual trust.
In these first five verses of Proverbs 6, we learn some simple truths:
1. Solomon isn’t addressing the case where you choose to become collateral for a stranger or an enemy. He is addressing the choice to become collateral for a friend. Co-signing for a friend is done with nothing but good intentions. If a friend needs a car and can’t get one without a loan and if that friend can’t get a loan without a co-signer, then surely his friend would feel the need to help. Helping out by offering a simple signature may be done with good intentions but is that a good decision? Solomon describes such a decision as a “snare” in verse 2. He denounces such a decision and infers it to be a foolish decision.
Good intentions don’t always end in good decisions. Intentions don’t define our lives, decisions do. We need to temper and steer our good intentions with wisdom and prudence.
In verse 3, Solomon instructs his son to get out of that legal responsibility in order to “make sure thy friend.” This financial counsel is more about relationships than it is about money. Co-signing for a friend is dangerous for financial reasons but it is even more dangerous for relationship reasons. If a friend fails to meet his or her financial obligations with a lender, the co-signer is then responsibility to pay those financial obligations. In such an unfortunate event, how can one expect that friendship to remain in tact or at the very least, expect that friendship to remain untainted? Perhaps more than anything in our cursed world, money so easily stirs negative emotions towards people. Siblings become enemies because of money in a family business Marriages fail because of money problems. Friends lose friends because of money issues.
Few friendships, if any, can survive the situation where a co-signer is forced to pay thousands of dollars because his or her friend failed to pay their debt. No matter how strong the friendship is on the day of the loan signing, it is unlikely that it will remain strong on the day that the loan becomes delinquent. Foreseeing this unfortunate reality, Solomon urges his son to get out of that legally binding responsibility for someone and “make sure thy friend,” or “make secure thy friend.” Solomon is placing friendship over finances. He is placing relationships over riches. He suggests that the friend do whatever is necessary, including paying the loan or finding independent financing, to secure the friendship and avoid any possible threats to the friendship. Three, five, seven or ten years of being responsible for a friend’s loan will add stress to the friendship and always remain a risk to the friendship