Proverbs 6:3

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.


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Suretiship is rejected here (Pr 6:1-5). Suretiship is cosigning loans, assuming obligations, or guaranteeing the performance of others. When entered into foolishly, hastily, or excessively, it is a sin of imprudence. God wants you free from unnecessary risks or contingent liabilities. He wants you to live a carefree life. Wise men rejoice at the rule!

Solomon frequently warned against suretiship (Pr 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13). Consider why. Kings’ sons were solicited every day to use their great credit, reputations, or authority on behalf of friends, acquaintances, or toadies. With a simple handshake, signature, telephone call, or email, the young men might quickly create large sets of potential obligations that could strain their resources and/or relationships.

Prudence is a large part of wisdom. Prudent men are pessimistic, skeptical, and work hard to avoid risk and future trouble; foolish men are optimistic, presumptuous, and believe most anything they hear (Pr 14:15; 22:3; 27:12). A wise man always has an eye to the future, so that his actions today will not cost him more tomorrow (Pr 23:5; 27:23-24). Wise men are cautious, conservative, critical, deliberate, risk-averse, and slow. Are you?

The proverb is from Solomon to his son. He wanted his son to do everything in his power to immediately get out of any foolish financial obligations for friends (Pr 6:1-5). No matter how humbling it might be to reverse your position with a friend, do it now! Deliver yourself from your hasty promise! Beg out of the matter, now! Extricate yourself from the creditor-debtor contract! Get down on your knees and implore for your freedom!

What began nicely with glory and pride must now be reversed painfully with humility and shame. Sinful choices bring negative consequences; you should not be surprised. Should you think about the matter for a while before correcting it? No! Do not even allow yourself sleep (Pr 6:4)! Can you simply make a polite and reasonable effort? No! You must energetically and frantically seek to escape like a trapped animal or bird (Pr 6:5)!

There is a broader and richer lesson in this proverb: a lesson you will be able to use for the rest of your life. Get ready! The aspects of urgency and humility required to quickly get out of suretiship apply to other matters as well. Do you want to be wiser than mere financial prudence? Get ready! You will find yourself on many occasions in other sinful situations, and you must use the same intense efforts to deliver yourself. Get ready!

If there is even a chance you have offended a person, go immediately, humble yourself, and fully regain your brother; do not think about sleep or worshipping God, for everything else must wait (Matt 5:23-26). On the other hand, if someone has offended you, and you cannot overlook it in glorious love (Pr 10:12; 19:11; I Cor 13:4-7), then go, humble yourself, and meekly apprise the party of their offence (Matt 18:15-17).

If you are single and in a relationship with an unbeliever, go now, humble yourself, and get out of this sinful yoke (I Cor 7:39; 11:11; II Cor 6:14; Ezra 10:1-44). If you are even slightly tempted to fornication with any person, go now, humble yourself, and do what it takes to get far away from that person and temptation (Pr 4:14-15; 5:8; Matt 5:28-30).

If television is hurting your family, go now, humble yourself, and tear the power cord off the back (Ps 101:3). If you are bitter toward your spouse, go now, humble yourself, and clear the air completely (Eph 5:33; Col 3:19). If you have neglected the spiritual training of your children, go now, humble yourself, and start over today (Ps 34:11; Eph 6:4).

If you have a problem with Internet temptation, go now, humble yourself, and tell your parent or spouse to set up password-protected filters to save you. If you know you have been intemperate with food or drink, go now, humble yourself, and lay down the law with close witnesses for godly limitations on food or wine (Pr 23:2; I Cor 9:24-27).

If you have not done much for your parents recently, go now, humble yourself, and take them out for dinner tonight (Eph 6:1-3; I Tim 5:8). If you are behind on any debts, go now, humble yourself, and pay the debt today, or tell the creditor when you will pay (Pr 3:27-28; Rom 13:8). If you have not done anything for any brother in two days, go now, humble yourself, and do something kind for one today (Heb 3:12-13; Acts 20:35).

If you are behind confessing your sins, praying, or reading your Bible, go now, humble yourself before God, and confess, pray, or read now (Ps 32:5; 55:17; 119:72). Do not let work, family, play, or sleep interfere (Job 23:12; Ps 66:18). If you have not listened to godly music recently, go now, humble yourself, and sing to the Lord (Ps 47:6-7).

When it comes to obeying the blessed God, do not allow other obligations or pride to get in your way. David said, “I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments” (Ps 119:60). The Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon with His mighty angels; will He find you in confident righteousness (I John 2:28-29)? Go, humble thyself, and make sure thy Lord!