Does God Need A Loan?

Bible Book: Proverbs  19 : 17
Subject: Stewardship; Rewards


We’ve heard a lot over the past couple of years about loans and interest rates and things like that. And there is a great deal said about the concept of lenders and borrowers. Perhaps one of the most famous quotes about lending is that which William Shakespeare wrote: “Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”


In the Old Testament, we find what we might call the law of the lender…

(Deuteronomy 23:20) Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury (with interest); but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.


The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says of this idea of lending and borrowing…

The want or poverty which leads to borrowing is said to indicate the absence of God’s blessing (Deuteronomy 28:44), while the ability to grant a loan characterizes a God-given prosperity (Deuteronomy 28:12). Inability to repay debts shows the futility of the wicked (Psalms 37:21). Finally, Scripture observes that the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).



It’s hard to imagine God being the borrower in any situation. In fact, the old Puritan, Samuel Rutherford, said, “Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner.”


However there are a couple of situations that suggest that God is actually the borrower. For example, in 1 Samuel, after Hannah had prayed that God would give her a son, and He did, she brought young Samuel to Eli the priest to leave her son. And she said…

(1 Samuel 1:28) Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.


I told you this morning that God always gives back more than we can ever give, and Hannah’s experience is proof of that. For the Bible says that when she brought Samuel that day…

(1 Samuel 2:20-21) And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. {21} And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.



There is another verse of scripture that indicates that God becomes the borrower. And it is upon that verse that I wish to focus briefly tonight. The Bible says…

(Proverbs 19:17) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.



I. Notice The Pity That This Verse Mentions

(Proverbs 19:17) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.


A. There Is A Love In Generosity (Pity)

W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words says that this word “pity” is the Hebrew word…

Chanan (OT:2603), “to be gracious, considerate; to show favor.” … In modern Hebrew chanan seems to stress the stronger meaning of “to pardon or to show mercy.” The word occurs around 80 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, the first time in Genesis 33:5: “The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.” Generally, this word implies the extending of “favor,” often when it is neither expected nor deserved. Chanan may express “generosity,” a gift from the heart.


B. There Is A Lending To God

lendeth – Hebrew 3867. lavah, law-vaw'; a prim. root; prop. to twine, i.e. (by impl.) to unite, to remain; also to borrow (as a form of obligation) or (caus.) to lend:--abide with, borrow (-er), cleave, join (self), lend (-er).

In other words, we entwine God to ourselves and we obligate Him to ourselves when we give graciously to the poor.

Matthew Henry noted…

The encouragement of charity. A very kind construction shall be put upon it. What is given to the poor, or done for them, God will place it to account as lent to him, lent upon interest (so the word signifies); he takes it kindly, as if it were done to himself.




II. Notice The Poor That This Verse Mentions

(Proverbs 19:17) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.


A. Consider The Idea Of The Need Of These Lean Ones

poor – Hebrew 1800. dal, dal; from H1809; prop. dangling, i.e. (by impl.) weak or thin:--lean, needy, poor (man), weaker.


B. Consider The Idea Of The Nature Of These Least Ones

I want to draw here upon some other statements that Jesus made…


(Matthew 25:34-40) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {35} For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: {36} Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. {37} Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? {38} When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? {39} Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? {40} And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


least – Greek 1646. elachistos, el-akh'-is-tos; superl. of elachus (short); used as equiv. to G3398; least (in size, amount, dignity, etc.):--least, very little (small), smallest.




III. Notice The Payback That This Verse Mentions

(Proverbs 19:17) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.


A. There Is An Assurance In The Payback

pay – Hebrew 7999. shalam, shaw-lam'; a prim. root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate); fig. to be (caus. make) completed; by impl. to be friendly; by extens. to reciprocate (in various applications):--make amends, (make an) end, finish, full, give again, make good, (re-) pay (again), (make) (to) (be at) peace (-able), that is perfect, perform, (make) prosper (-ous), recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward, X surely.


B. There Is An Abundance In The Payback

Jesus made a statement in Luke 6:38 that sets forth this same principle in a magnificent way…


(Luke 6:38) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.


Albert Barnes said…

[Good measure] They shall give you good measure, or “full” measure.

[Pressed down] As figs or grapes might be, and thus many more might be put into the measure.

[Shaken together] To make it more compact, and thus to give more.

[Running over] So full that the measure would overflow.

[Shall men give] This is said to be the reward of “giving” to the poor and needy; and the meaning is that the man who is liberal will find others liberal to him in dealing with them, and when he is also in circumstances of want. A man who is himself kind to the poor-who has that “character” established-will find many who are ready to help “him” abundantly when he is in want. He that is parsimonious (skimping), close (stingy), (ungenerous), will find few or none who will aid him.

[Into your bosom] That is, to you. The word “bosom” here has reference to a custom among Oriental nations of making the bosom or front part of their garments large, so that articles could be carried in them, answering the purpose of our pockets.






God always pays back with interest!