Act Justly 3 – The problem of debt

The Old Testament Jubilee laws show God’s concern for justice in society. We are challenged to loose the chains of injustice. Today, this may include tackling the root causes of poverty and the traps of debt, locally and globally.

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.’ (Psalm 89:14)

‘Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you…’ (Leviticus 25:10)

Read Deuteronomy 15:1-15.

For Moses, the long journey is over. He has led the Israelites through the miraculous exodus and the desperate years of wandering in the desert. Moses’ life is almost finished, but finally the people stand at the entrance to the promised land. A new generation is ready to cross the Jordan and enter Canaan. Now Moses reminds them of the road they have travelled and the agreement they made with God in the desert.

1. How would this particular law have affected the lives of the Israelites as a covenant people? (vv1-3)
2. How does God’s promise in verse 4 relate to the statement in verse 11?
3. What do verses 7-10 add to the law that has been given?
4. What concerns underlie these laws and what relevance do they have to our lives?
5. Every 50 years you make a new beginning – this is the Jubilee principle in the book of Leviticus. You cancel any debts still owed; if there are slaves, you set them free – it is a chance for renewal for everybody.’ How should this principal be worked out in UK society today?
6. What are the causes of debt in UK society today?
7. What should the church be doing to help people caught in “the debt trap”?
8. What should individual Christians be doing about the problems of debt.
9. Read Leviticus 25:35-38 and Exodus 22:25-27. How should we as Christians and as nations approach the issue of loans?
10. What does Jesus say in Luke 6:32-36 about lending to others?
11. What does Matthew 6:12 teach us about forgiveness?


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