Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.
This is a proverb that many of us have learned the hard way as we tried to help out someone in need with a loan or signing for a loan. If you wish to help someone, then give. If you make a loan, or co-sign for a loan, then only do so with the expectation that you will not get that money back; otherwise, you set yourself up for a fall.
Friendships have been destroyed and family relations broken over the lending of money. The money owed becomes a sore-spot; the one owing the money starts to avoid you. Conversation is strained because you both know the issue is always present. Or perhaps the friend seems to show no concern. All the more then his attitude aggravates you. Doesn’t he care?
Do not put others in your debt, especially when it comes to money. What you part with, do so freely and cheerfully. Know the cost of co-signing and be willing and ready to pay that cost. Scripture tells us to give liberally, but never to lend liberally.
That is the gospel. God gave freely his Son; the Son gave freely his life. Thus, we are free of the burden of having to pay a debt that we can never pay. We are free to love our Friend, our Brother, our Lord.
1 Samuel 11-12
11 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.’
2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, ‘I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.’
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Give us seven days so that we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.’
4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. 5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, ‘What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?’ Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. 7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one. 8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.
9 They told the messengers who had come, ‘Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, “By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be rescued.”’ When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated. 10 They said to the Ammonites, ‘Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you like.’
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
Saul confirmed as king
12 The people then said to Samuel, ‘Who was it that asked, “Shall Saul reign over us?” Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.’
13 But Saul said, ‘No one will be put to death today, for this day the Lord has rescued Israel.’
14 Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.’ 15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
Samuel’s farewell speech
12 Samuel said to all Israel, ‘I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2 Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and grey, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.’
4 ‘You have not cheated or oppressed us,’ they replied. ‘You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.’
5 Samuel said to them, ‘The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.’
‘He is witness,’ they said.
6 Then Samuel said to the people, ‘It is the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt. 7 Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your ancestors.
8 ‘After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the Lord for help, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
9 ‘But they forgot the Lord their God; so he sold them into the hands of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, “We have sinned; we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.” 11 Then the Lord sent Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.
12 ‘But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, “No, we want a king to rule over us”– even though the Lord your God was your king. 13 Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God – good! 15 But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
16 ‘Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! 17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realise what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.’
18 Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel.
19 The people all said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.’
20 ‘Do not be afraid,’ Samuel replied. ‘You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.’