A Generous Society

OPENING PRAYER

My Good Guide, as You walk with me, train me to follow in all Your ways.

 

Read: DEUTERONOMY 15:1-18

[1] 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. [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. [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. 

 

Reflect: WHAT IS TO HAPPEN EVERY SEVEN YEARS?

Have you noticed how seven is an important number in the Bible? This is another example. Just as God rested on the seventh day of creation, Moses prescribes a similar sabbath for the economy (1). The motivation for cancelling debts in this way seems to be that poverty caused by exploitation is both unnecessary and wrong (4).The principle extends to servants. These are not slaves in the recent or modern sense, but people who have voluntarily entered into service to an owner under contract. Note the distinction between such servants and hired hands who are simply in it for the money (18). Servants were part of the covenant household, and were entitled to the protection of the family. While such an arrangement was clearly permitted, Moses insists it must not be allowed to continue indefinitely where it might become exploitative. Freedom on generous terms (14) must be offered in the seventh year. What a great way to retell the story of God’s deliverance of the people themselves from slavery in Egypt (15)!

 

APPLY

Consider a debt that someone owes you, monetary or otherwise, and release them from it in Jesus’ name.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Gracious God, thank You that in Christ, we have been released from every debt against You!

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
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