I. WE ARE ENCOURAGED NOT TO BE IN DEBT
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another (Romans 13:8).
A. DEBT COMPARED TO SLAVERY
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave (Proverbs 22:7).
1. We are commanded not to be slaves of men
You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men (1 Corinthians 7:23).
B. BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF HARDSHIP OF BEING IN DEBT
So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam . . . everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain over them (1 Samuel 22:1-2).
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves” (2 Kings 4:1).
Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers…” We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our homes that we might get grain because of the famine.” Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. And now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others (Nehemiah 5:1-5).
Let the creditor seize all that he [the wicked man] has; and let strangers plunder the product of his hand (Psalm 109:11).
Thus says the Lord…“to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities…” (Isaiah 50:1).
C. NOT BEING IN DEBT SPOKEN OF IN THE POSITIVE
Woe to me, my mother, that you have born me as a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have neither lent, nor have men lent money to me, yet every one curses me (Jeremiah 15:10).
D. DEBT IS CONSIDERED A CURSE
But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your god, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you shall go down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head and you shall be the tail. So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you (Deuteronomy 28:15, 43-45).
E. BEING OUT OF DEBT IS CONSIDERED A BLESSING
The Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. For the Lord your God shall bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend money to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you (Deuteronomy 15:4-6).
Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you will obey the Lord your God…you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12).
II. DEBT REPAYMENT
A. GODLY PEOPLE REPAY DEBTS
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it, when you have it with you (Proverbs 3:27-28).
B. WICKED PEOPLE DO NOT REPAY DEBTS
The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives (Psalm 37:21).
C. LORD CAN SUPERNATURALLY PROVIDE RESOURCES TO GET OUT OF DEBT
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels; and you shall set aside what is full.” So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. And it came about when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest (2 Kings 4:1-7).
D. FORGIVENESS OF DEBTS EVERY SEVEN YEARS – LAW FOR OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS
At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed. From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother…If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land (Deuteronomy 15:1-11).
Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing (Deuteronomy 31:10-11).
…we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt (Nehemiah 10:31).
E. MISCELLANEOUS EXAMPLE OF DEBT REPAYMENT
But if he [Onesimus] has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account; I, Paul am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (lest I should mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well) (Philemon 18-19).
III. INDEBTEDNESS USED AS EXAMPLES IN TEACHING
A. TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents, but since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of the slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow-slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what he owed. So when his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow-slave, even as I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart (Matthew 18:21-35).
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain money-lender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly” (Luke 7:40-43).
B. TEACHING OF PAUL
Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).