God's Attitude About Debt

Many  of our judicial and social traditions come out of  the Old  Testament  and are kept in place to this  day  because  they work.  Legislation such as daily payment of wages, loans to  the poor but "without" interest and the right of poor people to go into the  fields after the harvest to pick up what was  left.  Farmers were  supposed to leave a little for this purpose which is  still customary  in  Europe. Others are equal participation  in  feasts like harvest festivals where food was given away to the poor  and permanent "debt" bondage was prohibited. This was probably one of the reasons for the establishment of the law of bankruptcy. Refer to Leviticus 10:9-13; 25:35-37 and Deuteronomy 15:12-15.

In the Old Testament God taught the nation of Israel personally how He planned to govern this planet which helped  establish some  order in this world. As we all know, God agrees that  debt brings slavery, causes complaint, produces strife, makes  outlaws and endangers property. See Leviticus 25:39,47,48; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Jeremiah 15:10; 1 Samuel 22:2 and Proverbs 6:1-5. In  Romans 13:8,9 Paul wrote that we should pay all  of  our debts  to others, how else can we love our  neighbor  (creditor). But God knew that the poor would always be among us often due  to extenuating circumstances such as collapse of families, laziness, health  problems, inability to learn, inadequate  preparation  of young  people for the "real" world, no inheritance to work  with, low wages, lack of jobs, etc. .

In the United States, the breakdown of families is partially due  to intermarriage of a great variety of people  of  different ethnic  origins  which was not intended by God. God  taught  
that people  would become many nations. If Israel was the  example  of God's  ideal, they were to stick with their own kind.  They  were not to intermarry with other nationalities.
Our government has not really found an "adequate" way to get our  youth  into a sufficient framework for the good  life  which should  be  available for all. Our young people not only  have  a difficult  time  finding appropriate marriage partners  but  when they  do,  they  are burdened with large  debts  disabling  their opportunities  for  further  developments of talents.  The  high interest rates defeat them.

God's plan was rejected originally by Israel. Eventually God Himself came in the person of Jesus Christ to tell us not to  get involved  with material possessions, but to travel and teach the good  news  of the coming resurrection of our bodies.  But  again mankind  was not ready for that. The New Testament tells us  that Jesus was rejected and thus the world system is rapidly  deteriorating into moral and physical decay.

For those who did receive the message and wanted to do  what Jesus taught found themselves in a dilemma. During the New Testament times when Jesus was here, travel by foot was a possibility, but  today  the  people of the earth have  moved  and increased, causing  travel in most cases beyond people's reach  financially. Walking  along  highways is against the law. The next  best  step then was a job, house, family and church on Sunday. The good news could  be  shared  with family, co-workers  and  friends.

Studying the Gospel helps us understand how God feels  about our  problems and that we can't blame God for the  difficulty  we find ourselves in sooner or later. In Exodus 22:25-27 (The Living Bible,  published in 1971) He told those who had the  ability  to become  a creditor, "If you lend money to a needy fellow  Hebrew, you  are not to handle the transaction in an ordinary  way,  with interest. If you take his clothing as a pledge of his repayment, you must let him have it back at night; how can he sleep  without it?  If you don't return it, and he cries to me for help, I  will hear  and  be very gracious to him [at your expense],  for  I  am compassionate."

God placed a limitation on debt by setting a time limit.  In Deuteronomy  15:1-4  (Ibid.) "At the end of  every  seventh  year there  is  to be a canceling of all debts! Every  creditor shall write  "paid in full" on any promissory note he holds  against  a fellow  Israelite", for the Lord has released everyone  from  his obligation. (This law does not apply to foreigners (Gentiles)  in the Old Testament)."

God's plan will become effective again  when Jesus comes back. God, in His mercy, through His Son Jesus Christ opened the door to all of humanity. In the New Testament Gentiles can become adopted Sons of God, see Ephesians 1:4,5. Today, bankruptcy, as we know it, is a form of cancellation of  debt. Going back to Deuteronomy 15:1-4, "No one  will  become poor because of this, for the Lord will greatly bless you in  the land  He  is giving you if you obey this  command."  "There  will always  be some among you who are poor; that is why the  commandment  is  necessary.  You must lend to  them  liberally." (Ibid. Deuteronomy 15:11)

"Every  50th  year  ... shall be holy, a  time  to  proclaim liberty  throughout the land to all enslaved debtors, and a  time for the canceling of all public and private debts. It shall be a
year when all the family estates sold to others shall be returned to the original owners or their heirs." (Ibid. Leviticus  25:8-9) "The  Lord God said: "Remember, the land is mine, so you may  not sell   it   permanently.   You  are   merely   my   tenants   and sharecroppers!"

The nation of Israel rebelled against their wonderful blessings under the leadership of Moses. ".. I know how rebellious and stubborn  you are," Moses told them. "If even today, while  I  am still here with you, you are defiant rebels against the Lord, how much  more rebellious will you be after my death! .. And  in  the days to come, evil will crush you, for you will do what the  Lord says  is evil, making him very angry." .. Moses recited this  ..song  to  the  whole  assembly  of  Israel:  (Ibid.   Deuteronomy 31:27..30)

"Listen, O Heavens and earth! Listen to what I say! My words shall fall upon you Like the gentle rain and dew, Like rain  upon the  tender grass, Like showers on the hillside. I will proclaim the  greatness of the Lord. How glorious He is! He is  the  Rock. His  work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He  is faithful,  without  sin. But Israel has become  corrupt,  smeared with  sin. "They are no longer His; They are a stubborn, twisted generation.  Is this the way you treat Jehovah? O foolish  people.  Is not  God your Father? Has He not created you? Has he  not  established you and made you strong?

"Then in plenty, they forsook their God. They shrugged  away the Rock of their salvation. Israel began to follow foreign gods, And  Jehovah was very angry; He was jealous of His  people.  They sacrificed   to   heathen  gods,  To  new   gods   never   before worshiped..." (Ibid. Deuteronomy 32:1..17)


In  Isaiah 61:1-11 in the Living Bible, the  prophet  Isaiah wrote: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the  Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and  afflicted.  He  has sent me to comfort the  brokenhearted,  to announce liberty  to captives and to open the eyes of the blind.  He  has sent  me to tell those who mourn that the time of God's favor  to them has come, and the day of His wrath to their enemies. To all who  mourn in Israel he will give: Beauty for ashes: Joy  instead of mourning; Praise instead of heaviness.

"For  God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks  for his own glory. And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins,  repairing the cities long ago destroyed, reviving them though they have lain  there many generations. Foreigners shall be your  servants;
they  shall feed your flocks and plow your fields and  tend  your vineyards. You shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers  of our  God. You shall be fed with the treasures of the nations  and shall  glory in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor,  you shall  have a double portion of prosperity and  everlasting  joy.

"For  I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrong. I  will faithfully  reward  my people for their suffering  and  make  an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known and honored among the nations; all shall realize that they are  a people  God has blessed. Let me tell you how happy God  has  made me!  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and  draped about me the robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding  suit or a bride with her jewels. The Lord will show the nations of the world His justice; all will praise Him. His righteousness shall be like a budding tree, or like a garden in  early spring, full of young plants springing up everywhere."

The question for the Gentile to ask is: "Do we want to  risk landing in the "servants to Israel" category? Of course not.  How do we avoid it? The Apostle Paul tells us how in Ephesians 1:1..5 (Ibid.). Dear Christian Friends at Ephesus, (not considered to be Jews but Gentiles and meant to apply to all believers).. This  is Paul  writing to you, chosen by God to be Jesus Christ's  messenger.

"May His blessings and peace be yours, sent to you from  God our  Father  and Jesus Christ our Lord. How we  praise  God,  the Father  of  our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us  with  every blessing  in heaven because we belong to Christ. Long  ago,  even before  he  made  the world, God chose us to  be  His  very  own, through  what Christ would do for us; He decided to make us  holy in His eyes, without a single fault - we stand before Him covered with  His love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And He did  it because He wanted to!"

The Apostle Paul told  the  Colossians,  also Gentiles in verses 1:16..23: "Christ Himself is the creator  who made everything in heaven and earth, the  things  we can see and the things we can't; the spirit world with its  kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for His own use and glory.

He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. He is the Head of  the body  made  up of His people - that is, His church  -  (Jews  and Gentiles) which He began; and He is the Leader of all those who arise  from the dead, so that He is first in everything; for  God wanted  all of Himself to be in His Son. It was through what  His Son  did that God cleared a path for everything to come to Him  - all  things  in heaven and on earth - for Christ's death  on  the cross has made peace with God for all by His blood.

This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were His enemies  and hated Him and were separated from Him by your own evil  thoughts and  actions, yet now He has brought you back as  His  friends... The only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in  it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced  of  the Good  News that Jesus died for you, never shifting from  trusting in Him to save you. This is the wonderful news that came to  each of you and is now spreading all over the world. And I, Paul, have the joy of telling it to others."

Going  back to the prophet Isaiah, he continues  in  62:1..7 "Because  I love Zion, because my heart yearns for  Jerusalem,  I will not cease to pray for her or to cry out to God on her behalf until  she shines forth in His righteousness and is  glorious  in His  salvation. The nations (Gentiles) shall see your  righteousness.  Kings shall be blinded by your glory; and God will  confer on you a new name.

"He will hold you aloft in His hands for all to see  - a splendid crown for the King of kings. Never again  shall you  be  called  "The God- forsa- ken Land" or the  "Land  that  God Forgot."  Your name will be "The Land of God's Delight" and  "The Bride,"  for the Lord delights in you and will claim you  as  his own... Take no rest, all you who pray, and give God no rest until He  establishes  Jerusalem and makes her  respected  and  admired throughout the earth..."

God  is discovered in peoples lives by making possible  what seems impossible to us. Totally bewildered we accept Romans  8:1-14  "There  is now no condemnation awaiting those who  belong  to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit - and  this power is mine through Christ Jesus - has freed me from  the  vicious  circle of sin and death. We aren't saved from sin's  grasp by  knowing the commandments of God, because we can't and  don't keep  them, but God put into effect a different plan to save  us.

He sent His own Son in a human body like ours - except that  ours are  sinful - and destroyed sin's control over us by giving  Himself  as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God's  laws if  we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey  the  evil
nature within us. Those who let themselves be controlled by their lower  natures  live  only to please themselves,  but  those  who follow  after the Holy Spirit find themselves doing those  things that  please God. Following after the Holy Spirit leads  to  life and  peace,  but following after the old nature leads  to  death, because the old sinful nature within us is against God.

It  never did  obey God's laws and it never will. That's why those who  are still under the  control of their old sinful  selves,  bent  on following  their old evil desires, can never please God. But  you are  not like that. You are controlled by your new nature if  you
have  the  Spirit  of God living in you. (And  remember  that  if anyone doesn't have the Spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all.)"

"Yet,  even though Christ lives within you, your  body  will die  because  of sin; but your spirit will live, for  Christ  has pardoned  it. And if the Spirit of God, who raised up Jesus from the dead, lives in you, he will make your dying bodies live again after  you die, by means of this same Holy Spirit  living  within you." Romans 8:30-32 (Ibid.) "And having chosen us, he called  us to  come to Him; and when we came, He declared us  "not guilty," filled  us  with Christ's goodness, gave us right  standing  with Himself, and promised us His glory. What can we ever say to  such wonderful  things  as these? If God is on our side, who  can  be against  us? Since He did not spare even his own Son for  us  but gave  Him up for us all, won't He also surely give us  everything else?"

Those of us who face difficult financial decisions, can look to  God and ask His help by searching the Scriptures.  The  world will  punish us for a time for resorting to bankruptcy by  taking our credit away, but God will be merciful.


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