If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards them. Rather, be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: ‘The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,’ so that you do not show ill will towards 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. 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. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 (NIV)
Read: Deuteronomy 15
Consider: Can you imagine what society would be like if the generosity and open-handedness mentioned in Deuteronomy 15 was practised? Can you imagine what it would be like if debts were cancelled every seven years? Can you imagine what our financial institutions would be like? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you took out a 25 year mortgage and after only seven years the debt was cancelled and you were mortgage-free. I’m sure that lenders (whether private individuals or institutions) would look for ways around such generosity.
Perhaps this is all a pipe dream and we can’t really expect such old laws to be enacted today.
I was thinking about this and realised that what is included in Deuteronomy 15 is a picture of God’s grace in action. What is owing to the lender is cancelled, not because the borrower deserves it, but because of the generosity of the lender. This is the same with God’s grace. It is only through God’s generosity that the enormity of the debt we owe is cancelled by the death of Christ in our place.
God’s generosity in allowing Christ to die in our place, paying the price for our sin, is no pipe dream. It is a reality. It is a reality that is far in excess of anything envisaged in Deuteronomy 15. While being free from financials debt is very liberating, it pales into insignificance compared to the freedom we experience in having our debt for sin cancelled by God.
Pray: Father, we thank you for your grace that you have lavished on us so that we might be freed from the debt of sin. While freedom from financial debt is liberating, true freedom is only to be found in you. Amen