Thank You, God, for all that You have given me.
Read Deuteronomy 15:1–18
The Year for Canceling Debts
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.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThis is a passage about financial debt and slave ownership. Surprisingly, both sections can stir us to worship God today!
In verses 1 to 11 God addresses his plan for Israel to have a recurring year when debts are cancelled (cf. Lev. 25). Sadly, you can’t just quote this passage to your mortgage lender. However, three key thoughts: first, the Bible warns about the danger of getting into debt. Even if our culture expects us to be in debt and makes it easy to take out loans, we would be wise to plan carefully. Second, God wants his people to be generous to those in need. After all, our generosity can only ever be a pale reflection of God’s greater generosity to us. Third, praise God that while our bank may not cancel debts, our God does, and our eternal prospects are transformed as a result!
In verses 12 to 18 we read of God’s character in regard to slave ownership. Again, notice how God wanted vulnerable people to be cared for. With such kindness it is understandable that some slaves would even choose to remain out of love for their “owners”—to become a bondservant. Later in the Bible we see many epistles beginning with the apostles referring to themselves as servants (cf. 2 Pet., James and Jude)—willingly working for the Master whom they love!
What would it mean to truly follow Christ as your master? Do you obey him as a bondservant would his master? Do you need to make some adjustments in the way you follow God?
I praise You, God, that in Jesus my debt of sin has been cancelled, I have been rescued, and now I can be Your willing servant!
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