Stay True To God
Taking Care of the Poor
Jerry A Collins
v Should we lend money to people who are poor?
v How would releasing slaves remind me of God’s grace?
v What would slaying the first-born of my herd teach?
Ian Newby Walder
knocked on the door of our church in downtown
1. GENEROUSLY AND FREELY LEND TO THE POOR 1-11
Cancel all debt 1-3 At the end of every 7th year you shall cancel all debt. This was called the sabbatical year or year of release. Any loan you made was to be canceled completely then. This was a way of preventing poverty in the land. This was only for fellow Israelites. This included your neighbor as well as family you may have loaned money too. They can still hold foreigners to their debt but as repeated in vs 3, any Israelite should receive the benefit of release from any kind of debt owed you. Of course, this meant the one releasing the debt had to take a real hit in financial terms. There was a real lose that the lender had to absorb. So giving was meant to be costly—it involved sacrifice on the part of the one giving. In many cases, it was giving without expecting any payment back—giving to those who could never repay you.
God’s favor will follow 4-6 If you keep God’s Word,
there will not be any poor among you vs 4. The
creditor would need to have no fear of releasing this debt because God would
not let him suffer because he did this. This would, of course, require faith,
but the promise would hold true for them while in the land and obeyed the voice
of God in this matter vs 5. Listen obediently, and
observe carefully the voice of the Lord so that this blessing would not fail.
God repeats this scenario in vs 6—he will bless them
as He has promised to do to reinforce their motivation to pursue God’s will in
this matter. He reminds them that—the one who borrows is the slave the one who
lends is the ruler. God’s favor on
Lend to the poor 7-11 First, there is a warning—don’t not lend to
the poor because the Sabbatical year is near and you won’t get your money back!
The tendency to not lend and give is described: (1) harden your heart
(hard-hearted) (2) close your hand (tight-fisted) (3) a base thot (grudgingly) (4) hostile eye (want ill-will) (5) give
nothing (reluctant) (6) heart grieved (distraught). Most likely, this will be the
tendency because you know you will take a hit especially if you give near the
end of the 7 year cycle. Second, in sharp contrast, twice you are to lend with an freely open hand vs 8, 11. The
extent of your giving (1) generously lend mentioned twice 8, 10 (2) sufficient
to meet the total need 8 (3) perpetually since the poor will always be with you
11. Third, Otherwise the poor had the right to accuse
you before the Lord as a sin 9. Again, god tells the giver He will be blessed
in all of his work and undertaking as he obeys God. God will take care of the
giver as he takes care of the poorer. The poor should consider it a loan so
they should pay it back, up until the 7th year. The gift was not to
make them irresponsible. The lender was not to look at it as something he
expected to get back. This is the reality. There will never cease to be poor
among you. Poverty is the result of your birth position (parents, government, personality, mental and physical condition) and a result of
your choices. Your birth condition effects your
choices but does not determine them. So for sure (1) poverty will always be
there (2) it is almost impossible to cure (like most problems) (3) like most
problems it can be treated (4) like most problems we treat it must be treated
constantly without hope of cure but hope of maintaining stability. Like a
person with sugar diabetes taking insulin. It is not a cure but it has to be
constant and continual. Jesus helped the poor but He did not solve poverty.
There were just as many poor when he left as when he came. His solution was the
story of the good Samaritan—you help your
neighbor—whoever comes across you path in need. Poor in Jesus’ day was often
from situations they could not control—being an orphan, a widow, lame, blind. Today poverty usually because of sin like alcohol and drugs.
So God wants to instill within us a spirit of generosity and magnanimous
giving. Freedom from money and things release us to give generously and
continuously to meet needs around us.
2. TREAT ONE WHO WORKS FOR YOU IN SUCH
Sometimes a person unable to pay
debts would sell self as servant to pay creditor. (1) If the size of debt meant
must work 6 yrs, he was freed the 7th vs
12. So this is not like black slavery of
Give, do not lend expecting it back. Lending and
2) we should give to the poor with the idea of meeting their needs, not necessarily curing their poverty. Curing poverty involves a change of their mental condition, personality etc., which we cannot control. 3) Treat others who work with you in such a way that they will choose to stay with you. One indication of a person is whether people want to stay around them a long time. Not everyone will want to stay but if you have a constant turnover of people, then something is wrong. The mighty men of who began with David were still with him when he died. 4) Believe God has your best interests at heart when you take hits giving