Debt: A Biblical Exploration #3 Today I am reading day 3 of Debt: A Biblical Exploration:

Keep Christ in Christmas

The year of release put a stop to the familiar cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. Regardless of how much debt the poor may have incurred or the reason for the reason for that debt, the year of release provided a comprehensive program of debt cancellation and freedom from indentured servitude. This radical economic legislation was grounded in Israel’s identity as a nation with firsthand experience of God’s generosity. God wanted the memories of their release from bondage and inheritance of the promised land to be evident in Israel’s economic life. He wanted Israel to be a culture of radical generosity.

Stewardship theologian Ronald E. Vallet notes that both “Exodus 21:2-11 and Deuteronomy 15:1-11 spelled out provisions for the remission of debts every seven years.” Vallet points out that God went even further:

In Leviticus 25, those provision were incorporated into the practice of the Jubilee year. Every fifty yearsÑa Sabbath of Sabbaths, the year after seven sevensÑthe land was to have rest from cultivation. There was a homecoming in which family land that had been forfeited was to be returned. Debts were to be canceled; slaves were to be set free. The provisions were radical. In effect, all society was commanded to pursue God’s interest and passion for justice. Isaiah 61, especially verses 1-2 with their reference to “the year of the Lord’s favor,” is Isaiah’s allusion to the year of Jubilee, an idea that influenced the prophets greatly. Isaiah 61:8 sums up forcefully the divine passion for justice embedded in all scripture: “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.”

Imagine what it would be like to experience a financial jubilee one time in your lifetime: to be able to start from a clean slate with no debts or obligations to be repaid. What would that freedom enable you to do?

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