Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, August 9, 2012

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God had a financial plan for reminding His people that He was their God, the One who took care of them. A Sabbatical was instituted every seventh year, where the land rested and nothing was planted or harvested. Whatever grew of itself could be used by anyone, rich or poor, including the stranger.

 

If a man who owed a debt had to sell himself to the person, he could be redeemed (even from a non-Israelite owner) by family and friends.  But the seventh Sabbatical year was a Jubilee year and all slaves had to be released.  There was no planting or harvesting, and the land that had been mortgaged by the poor was returned.

 

God’s financial system for Israel has never had an equal. The economy operated primarily on the basis of land, goods, and services—not money. God expressly forbid the people from charging interest to the poor.  Slaves were treated as hired servants—not slaves. Land depreciated about two percent a year because of the Jubilee, but even as its value went down, the value of goods increased.  Population growth helped the economy, and entrenched poverty and wealth were avoided. The land, people, and even animals enjoyed a Sabbatical rest. God’s plans are always the best.

 

God still expects us to show kindness and compassion to the poor and help them in times of need.

 

Dean Davis

Atlantic Union College