Verse 26 - As we saw in Day 36, it is unwise to become surety for someone else's debt, or to co-sign someone else's loan. This verse speaks of "striking hands." Years ago in America, many people entered formal agreements merely by shaking hands. A handshake sealed a bargain, signifying that a person was giving his word to uphold his end of an agreement. Because most people were honorable, they carried out their part of the agreement; when they gave their word, they kept it. Today we still shake hands on an agreement, but only after we have signed papers that legally bind us to fulfill the conditions of the contracts that we have signed. We should take every agreement that we sign very seriously. Giving our word to do something is a serious thing before God and people. Even if we are not legally bound to do something, as God's children we must keep our word when we give it, though it may be inconvenient or damaging financially, socially, or in any other way. In Psalm 15:4 David, describing the characteristics of a godly man, said that he "...sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not." Often after telling someone that I would do something I have wished that I had not done so, for it became very difficult for me to keep my word. At times, we have all "sworn to our own hurt," but God expects us to keep our word, just as He keeps His Word, even if it hurts to do so.
Verse 27 - Many people request loans in order to maintain an unaffordable lifestyle, rather than for emergency help. Often, it becomes too difficult for them to keep up the loan payments and the co-signer is held accountable. This not only creates a financial burden for the co-signer, but jeopardizes his own financial position if he is unable to assume the requirements of the loan. Depending on the laws involved, it might even lead to the loss of his house and furniture - his bed being literally taken from him. At the very least, it could damage his credit. Co-signing loans for those who have not learned Biblical financial principles is actually unkind. Ultimately, loans do not help them, and many later feel animosity toward those who helped them incur the debt by co-signing the loan.
Do these verses imply that we should never help those who ask us for financial help? Certainly not; but rather that we be wise in giving help. We must be careful to help those with genuine needs, but not necessarily by co-signing a loan for them. Perhaps the Lord would want us just to give – instead of loan - to them.