He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
The language here is challenging. What is this saying?
I think the proverb is saying something like this: He that strikes a deal with a stranger will regret it and he that refuses alliances is secure.
If that is the saying, it makes sense.
Sometimes people make alliances with strangers and this does not necessarily include people we do not know. A stranger in this sense could be someone whose aim in life is at odds with our own.
It is better to stand alone and with integrity than it is to band together with many who are against the things you stand for.
For example, Paul the apostle said that we should not be “unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
Sometimes in our haste to have allies in a situation, we might be tempted to ban together with anyone who is willing without considering the larger matters. An ally on one front might be an enemy on a larger and more important matter.
For example, we might have allies in the realms of politics or other matters that influence our society. However, not all who share our views politically or socially uphold Christian values—or at least, they do not uphold the teachings of Jesus that might be inconvenient when dealing with matters that we fear or feel passionately about.
Before we know it, we are bound with many allies—but these allies are not allies of Christ, but of their desire to build their kingdom in this world—and in their ambition, they forget things like loving your enemy, praying for those that persecute you, a respect for the patience of the Lord that leads us to repentance, and the fact that any good thing we have came from God.
They might fall into fear, wrath and vengeance, despair, and lose sight of Jesus in their pursuit for worldly ambitions. Perhaps these ambitions were just, but when pursued to the exclusion of Christ, they are of no benefit.
When weighing all things in our world with a focus on staying faithful to Jesus, we might find that our true allies are few and far between. However, we can rest assured in the promises of Jesus knowing that He is at work, our brethren are in differing stages of growth and serving different purposes, and one day all things will come together as they should—and this will be for our good.
Another thought comes to mind.
Jesus once said, “he that is not against us is for us.” However, Jesus also once said, “he that is not with us scatters abroad.”
There is a time for all things. As the ways of the Lord are tested and we find ourselves tried in them, we might find it increasingly difficult to say, “he that is not against us is for us.” However, as much as is possible, we look for ways to be at peace with all. We can be at peace with many without making hasty alliances.
Jesus will call together those who are aligned with Him and His purposes, and we will have a strong assembly of brethren who are truly united in spirit as those who stand with Jesus above all else.
For many Christians who feel cast out or ostracized from mainstream Christian religion or from friends and family who are Christian, it can seem as if there is no hope and no one who really cares for the calling we have in Jesus. There are many out there. We just need to trust in the Father’s perfect timing and perfect will.
If this is a concern for you, perhaps the best thing to be done is to keep seeking to your own growth so that you can be of use to others, trusting in Jesus to send people to you who need what you have to offer, and He will also send people to you who offer something that you need. We are a body of believers and none is above another. So, in our striving to avoid foolish alliances, we do so in humility and in faith.
PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus Christ. Follow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future posts. Visit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.