Deuteronomy 15:2 (CSB)
2 This is how to cancel debt: Every creditor is to cancel what he has lent his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the Lord’s release of debts has been proclaimed.
This passage is about the cancelling of debts after seven years. There are a few things to think about concerning this command.
- The command only applies to Israelites. Deuteronomy 15:3 confirms that collection of debts may continue when the debtor is a foreigner. Additionally, Deuteronomy 15:2 specifies that the cancellation applies to one’s “neighbor or brother.”
- Elimination of the poor seems to be, at least partially, the goal here. Deuteronomy 15:4 states specifically that “there will be no poor among you.” Certainly the elimination of debt every seven years would go some way towards that goal, and of course the obedience, and subsequent blessing of God, would likewise make it possible.
- Deuteronomy 15:6 suggests that debt allows the lender to “rule” over the debtor. Perhaps the cancellation of debts, at God’s command, is a reminder that He is our ruler, our King. It is a reminder to both the lender and debtor: the lender is reminded that they are not God, and the debtor is reminded of Who they truly belong.
- Perhaps this command is a way to practice generosity. Giving without the promise of a return.
- Maybe this command is a metaphor for God’s forgiveness of our debt. God is the ultimate “lender”, and all of us are in His debt, we owe Him. Yet He forgives our debt, and He does it immediately upon our becoming His child in Christ.
Lord, thank You for blessing us. Especially in the west we are blessed greatly. Yet too often I am ruled by money, rather than You. I pray for a return to the principles You gave us here: altruism, and, most importantly, obedience of You. Amen.