Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7 NLT

“Rule” is good when generously and justly serving the people, so we mustn’t mistake “rule” as always having a negative connotation. This isn’t saying poor is good and rich is bad, or vice versa. It is stating a fact about the relationship. If we are fiscally responsible and wisely steward the gifts and talents given to us, we will be in a position to help others who are not in our position — but whether we lift them up or push them down will determine what our “rule” looks like.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this verse: “Those that have little will be in subjection to those that have much, because they have dependence upon them, they have received, and expect to receive, support from them: The rich rule over the poor, and too often more than becomes them, with pride and rigour, unlike to God, who, though he be great, yet despises not any. It is part of the affliction of the poor that they must expect to be trampled upon, and part of their duty to be serviceable, as far as they can, to those that are kind to them, and study to be grateful.

And when we are borrowers, we are accepting the rule of others over us. In general, “borrowing” most of the time isn’t for covering our “needs”. Most of us could have a place to sleep (even if in a shelter or a friend’s couch), and enough food and water to survive and live a very simple life of survival until we work hard enough to save up and pay for things. But we see the way of the world is to sell us loans, credit cards, and payday advances to encourage a “enjoy it today and worry about it tomorrow” mindset that signs over our financial freedom to someone else. This is a hard lesson when learned through foolish financial decisions.

More of Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse: “Those that are but going behindhand find themselves to lie much at the mercy of those that are before hand: The borrower is servant to the lender, is obliged to him, and must sometimes beg, Have patience with me. Therefore it is part of Israel’s promised happiness that they should lend and borrow, Deu. 28:12. And it should be our endeavour to keep as much as may be out of debt. Some sell their liberty to gratify their luxury.

More credit/finance related verses can be found here:

Our family has benefited greatly from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University — which should be basic elementary school teaching right after kids learn math, not optional necessarily something that they learn at college age or later in life after having been raided by high interest ands bad decisions. What Dave teaches isn’t radical, it’s elementary. Unfortunately, it is counter culture in the middle of a prosperity and instant gratification world that swirls around us tempting our senses and feelings to buy so many things that we don’t need, but that we want — and that convinces us that we must have it RIGHT NOW even if that means using credit rather than patient planning and saving in order to get it.

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