Cancellation of Debt
Today I was blessed by ending my daily reading with Deuteronomy Chapter 15. It was an amazing chapter that I could fully relate to since I am buried under student debt. It seems like I paid premium dollar for education that I could apply to a job that never existed. It was a trap. It was a false promise.So below is my perspective of Deuteronomy 15 and the cancellation of debt.
Here is a quick summary for those with the attention span of a…. what was I talking about?
Moses speaks to Israel: all debts cancelled after seven years. God instructs everyone to be generous to the poor and to not refrain from lending because the Sabbath year approaches. Slaves are to be released every seventh year, and not turned out empty-handed. Meaning send them on their way with enough to survive in the world. Slaves who wished to continue serving would have their ear pierced with an awl, to signify the relationship. The firstborn of the herd or flock is to be given to the Lord. The sacrifice must be flawless. In every single way.
If you couldn’t even finish the first paragraph without having your mind wander you should stop now… or if you truly want to find out about the cancellations of debt and the seventh year proceed.
Could you imagine a world where debts would be canceled every 7 years? A place where every creditor knows that by forgiving the debt of a fellow person, they are actually increasing the value of that persons life. The creditor must know that God will richly bless them because He controls your inheritance. So by forgiving debt of fellow man you are honoring God. In a world today where people are encouraged to go into debt, they do not realize what they are doing. Many are raised with the poverty mindset of spending more than you make and going into debt is the norm. It is a double edged sword. People need to stop asking for handouts or for money from creditors and start putting faith back into the Lord and His blessings. Creditors need to stop throwing money at people who are capable of being able to work and to bring in money. By limiting the availability of funds to those who do not need them, the supply of funds going to people in dire need will increase. Which will ultimately allow creditors to receive Gods blessings of lending to many nations but never borrowing. By doing this He will make Creditors ruler over many nations and ruled by none.
Deuteronomy 15: At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3 You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. 4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
Take the last paragraph with a grain of salt. I am not saying never ever lend money or time and I am not saying lend your time and money to everyone. God reminds us to be openhanded and freely lend to people in need. He even says to not carry wicked thoughts if the plea for help is before the debt is cancelled in the seventh year. Meaning even though all debt is about to be cancelled, still lend with an open heart, even though you will more than likely forgiving that debt instead of collecting. In fact if you withhold from a person in need, you will be found guilty of a sin. By opening you heart to people God will bless you in all of your work and in everything you do. He will bless the connections in your life and the work that you produce, creating wealth that can be used to help many others in need.
Deuteronomy 15:7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
In a modern time where people go into debt to feed their families, what if we were able to sell ourselves to the creditor in exchange for payment? Would this create more or less people willing to take a handout? If you knew the person you had to borrow from would control your life for the next 6 years would you do it? Basically they would be in charge of feeding you and giving you a place to sleep, but you would work for them and do everything they asked. Hmmm I guess it would be similar to being a child all over again. The service you received for being a creditor would be worth twice as much as a hired hand. Over 6 years you would even be able to choose to remain a lifetime slave or be free of your debt. Could you imagine going to someone that is a millionaire and saying please loan me xxx,xxx amount and in exchange my family and I will be your slave for 6 years. Wouldn’t it be easier to just get a job or create your own wealth?
12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. 16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant. 18 Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.
To finish out the Sabbath year we are instructed to give to the Lord our firstborn… of every flock that is. That would be messed up to be the first born child and have read the scripture wrong… whoops! So the first born male of all your herds being eaten by the family in the presence of the Lord. This animal must be free of defect and cannot have any serious flaw. The blood of the animal must be poured on to the ground like water.
19 Set apart for the Lord your God every firstborn male of your herds and flocks. Do not put the firstborn of your cows to work, and do not shear the firstborn of your sheep. 20 Each year you and your family are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose. 21 If an animal has a defect, is lame or blind, or has any serious flaw, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You are to eat it in your own towns. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it, as if it were gazelle or deer. 23 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
The seventh year was the year of release. We are released of our debts and our sins were pardoned. We gained clarity on subjects of charity and giving along with a reminder of not to judge nor distrust a persons reasons for borrowing. By Jesus becoming poor, and by shedding his blood, has made a full and free provision for the payment of our debts and the ransom of our souls. The acceptable year of the Lord is proclaimed; the year of release of our debts, of the deliverance of our souls, and of obtaining rest in Him.
My questions to you for today are:
- Do you currently have debt?
- What steps are you taking to pay off the debt?
- Would you rather be a slave to creditors or have the bondage of debt?