Reading through the Bible together

Monday, October 1, 2012

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Debt was the major cause of slavery in the Ancient Near East. In securing a loan, all the poor people could give for security would be themselves or members of their family. In cases where they could not repay the loan, the creditor would seize the persons or members of their families and make them slaves. Imagine what a blessing this debt cancellation law was when every seven years, people could have the opportunity for economic recovery.

Ideally there should have been no poor people among the Israelites. But within this chapter the reality is set forth, “For the poor will never cease from the land.” (v.11) This was because some Israelites did not fully obey God in following the debt cancellation laws.

In the hard times of long ago, God was trying to teach His people practical generosity. “You shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need.” (v.8). This is limited to providing for their “needs”, not their “wants.” This was talking about providing for their basic survival, not for luxuries.

“Dear Father, open my eyes to the needs of the worthy poor that I associate with regularly. I know You are the universe’s most generous giver. Help me be like You.”

John Ash
Chinese Union Mission
Hong Kong