Focal passage: Proverbs 6:1-5; 22:7
Avoid financial obligations that could sink you.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word slavery? Some of you may think of the Israelites, forced to build bricks and work fields in obedience to Pharaoh.
Others of you may mournfully recall the men and women torn from their homes and treated as less than human during the early years of the United States.
Then again, you could be considering the more than 35 million people enslaved today, manipulated through threats and violence and often denied basic human rights.
Slavery in every form is appalling and must be condemned by followers of Jesus as we pursue justice and fight to rescue those in need. And yet, have you ever considered that this picture of slavery, of precious humans being forced to live and work in bondage, is the exact picture used in scripture to describe living in financial indebtedness? As the author of Proverbs 22:7 states, “the borrower is a slave to the lender.”
We live in a culture where debt is expected and at times even encouraged. To acquire what we think we need to live the life we think we deserve, we borrow and spend what we do not have. According to scripture, when we do this, we are essentially choosing to live as a slave.
True, no one will beat us with whips as arrive at work tomorrow morning, but in a very real sense when we are in debt, we become the slave to the person that lent us money. Paying back what we owe takes precedence over all other opportunities.
God calls us to flee this slavery “like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand and like a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:5). He has intended us for freedom – freedom to live the abundant life He promises, freedom to serve Him and freedom to use the blessings He gives us to bless those around us. Oh that we would repent of our own willingness to enslave ourselves to fulfill our own selfish desires and instead trust the One who promises to provide all we need.