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Canceled Debts

The LORDS’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. Deuteronomy 15:2

In 2009, Los Angeles County stopped charging families for the costs of their children’s incarceration. Though no new fees were charged, those with unpaid fees from before the change in policy were still required to settle their debt. Then in 2018 the county canceled all outstanding financial obligations.

For some families, canceling the debt aided greatly in their struggle to survive; no longer having liens on their property or wages being garnished meant they were better able to put food on the table. It was for this kind of hardship that God called for debts to be forgiven every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:2). He didn’t want people to be crippled forever by them.

Because the Israelites were forbidden to charge interest on a loan to fellow Israelites (Exodus 22:25), their motives for lending to a neighbor weren’t to make a profit, but rather to help those who were enduring hard times, perhaps due to a bad harvest. Debts were to be freely forgiven every seven years. As a result, there would be less poverty among the people (Deuteronomy 15:4).

Today, believers in Jesus aren’t bound by these laws. But God might occasionally prompt us to forgive a debt so those who’ve been struggling can begin afresh as contributing members of society. When we show such mercy and generosity to others, we lift up God’s character and give people hope.

When have you desperately clung to Christ? How did God meet your need?

Jesus, thank You for caring about the financial burdens we carry.


The law of Moses provided Israel with guidelines for life. First, there were liturgical elements that governed how Israel was to engage in the worship of God, including the design of the tabernacle and its furnishings; procedures for special feast times; and issues of ceremonial purity. There was also a societal component, which dealt with how the people of Israel were to interact with one another as families and as a covenant people together under one God. Finally, the law had a national component that described how Israel was to relate to the surrounding nations once they arrived in the land of promise. Taken together, the law was a comprehensive set of instructions covering life for the people of God.

For more, see Knowing God Through the Old Testament at discoveryseries.org/sb101.

Bill Crowder

By |2019-12-09T15:20:01-05:00December 11th, 2019|
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