Many of our judicial and social traditions come out of the Old Testament and are kept in place to this day because they work. Legislation such as daily payment of wages, loans to the poor but "without" interest and the right of poor people to go into the fields after the harvest to pick up what was left. Farmers were supposed to leave a little for this purpose which is still customary in Europe. Others are equal participation in feasts like harvest festivals where food was given away to the poor and permanent "debt" bondage was prohibited. This was probably one of the reasons for the establishment of the law of bankruptcy. Refer to Leviticus 10:9-13; 25:35-37 and Deuteronomy 15:12-15.
In the Old Testament God taught the nation of Israel personally how He planned to govern this planet which helped establish some order in this world. As we all know, God agrees that debt brings slavery, causes complaint, produces strife, makes outlaws and endangers property. See Leviticus 25:39,47,48; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Jeremiah 15:10; 1 Samuel 22:2 and Proverbs 6:1-5. In Romans 13:8,9 Paul wrote that we should pay all of our debts to others, how else can we love our neighbor (creditor). But God knew that the poor would always be among us often due to extenuating circumstances such as collapse of families, laziness, health problems, inability to learn, inadequate preparation of young people for the "real" world, no inheritance to work with, low wages, lack of jobs, etc. .
In the United States, the breakdown of families is partially due to intermarriage of a great variety of people of different ethnic origins which was not intended by God. God taught
that people would become many nations. If Israel was the example of God's ideal, they were to stick with their own kind. They were not to intermarry with other nationalities.
Our government has not really found an "adequate" way to get our youth into a sufficient framework for the good life which should be available for all. Our young people not only have a difficult time finding appropriate marriage partners but when they do, they are burdened with large debts disabling their opportunities for further developments of talents. The high interest rates defeat them.
God's plan was rejected originally by Israel. Eventually God Himself came in the person of Jesus Christ to tell us not to get involved with material possessions, but to travel and teach the good news of the coming resurrection of our bodies. But again mankind was not ready for that. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was rejected and thus the world system is rapidly deteriorating into moral and physical decay.
For those who did receive the message and wanted to do what Jesus taught found themselves in a dilemma. During the New Testament times when Jesus was here, travel by foot was a possibility, but today the people of the earth have moved and increased, causing travel in most cases beyond people's reach financially. Walking along highways is against the law. The next best step then was a job, house, family and church on Sunday. The good news could be shared with family, co-workers and friends.
Studying the Gospel helps us understand how God feels about our problems and that we can't blame God for the difficulty we find ourselves in sooner or later. In Exodus 22:25-27 (The Living Bible, published in 1971) He told those who had the ability to become a creditor, "If you lend money to a needy fellow Hebrew, you are not to handle the transaction in an ordinary way, with interest. If you take his clothing as a pledge of his repayment, you must let him have it back at night; how can he sleep without it? If you don't return it, and he cries to me for help, I will hear and be very gracious to him [at your expense], for I am compassionate."
God placed a limitation on debt by setting a time limit. In Deuteronomy 15:1-4 (Ibid.) "At the end of every seventh year there is to be a canceling of all debts! Every creditor shall write "paid in full" on any promissory note he holds against a fellow Israelite", for the Lord has released everyone from his obligation. (This law does not apply to foreigners (Gentiles) in the Old Testament)."
God's plan will become effective again when Jesus comes back. God, in His mercy, through His Son Jesus Christ opened the door to all of humanity. In the New Testament Gentiles can become adopted Sons of God, see Ephesians 1:4,5. Today, bankruptcy, as we know it, is a form of cancellation of debt. Going back to Deuteronomy 15:1-4, "No one will become poor because of this, for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land He is giving you if you obey this command." "There will always be some among you who are poor; that is why the commandment is necessary. You must lend to them liberally." (Ibid. Deuteronomy 15:11)
"Every 50th year ... shall be holy, a time to proclaim liberty throughout the land to all enslaved debtors, and a time for the canceling of all public and private debts. It shall be a
year when all the family estates sold to others shall be returned to the original owners or their heirs." (Ibid. Leviticus 25:8-9) "The Lord God said: "Remember, the land is mine, so you may not sell it permanently. You are merely my tenants and sharecroppers!"
The nation of Israel rebelled against their wonderful blessings under the leadership of Moses. ".. I know how rebellious and stubborn you are," Moses told them. "If even today, while I am still here with you, you are defiant rebels against the Lord, how much more rebellious will you be after my death! .. And in the days to come, evil will crush you, for you will do what the Lord says is evil, making him very angry." .. Moses recited this ..song to the whole assembly of Israel: (Ibid. Deuteronomy 31:27..30)
"Listen, O Heavens and earth! Listen to what I say! My words shall fall upon you Like the gentle rain and dew, Like rain upon the tender grass, Like showers on the hillside. I will proclaim the greatness of the Lord. How glorious He is! He is the Rock. His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is faithful, without sin. But Israel has become corrupt, smeared with sin. "They are no longer His; They are a stubborn, twisted generation. Is this the way you treat Jehovah? O foolish people. Is not God your Father? Has He not created you? Has he not established you and made you strong?
"Then in plenty, they forsook their God. They shrugged away the Rock of their salvation. Israel began to follow foreign gods, And Jehovah was very angry; He was jealous of His people. They sacrificed to heathen gods, To new gods never before worshiped..." (Ibid. Deuteronomy 32:1..17)
In Isaiah 61:1-11 in the Living Bible, the prophet Isaiah wrote: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives and to open the eyes of the blind. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of God's favor to them has come, and the day of His wrath to their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel he will give: Beauty for ashes: Joy instead of mourning; Praise instead of heaviness.
"For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing the cities long ago destroyed, reviving them though they have lain there many generations. Foreigners shall be your servants;
they shall feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. You shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You shall be fed with the treasures of the nations and shall glory in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor, you shall have a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.
"For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrong. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known and honored among the nations; all shall realize that they are a people God has blessed. Let me tell you how happy God has made me! For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and draped about me the robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. The Lord will show the nations of the world His justice; all will praise Him. His righteousness shall be like a budding tree, or like a garden in early spring, full of young plants springing up everywhere."
The question for the Gentile to ask is: "Do we want to risk landing in the "servants to Israel" category? Of course not. How do we avoid it? The Apostle Paul tells us how in Ephesians 1:1..5 (Ibid.). Dear Christian Friends at Ephesus, (not considered to be Jews but Gentiles and meant to apply to all believers).. This is Paul writing to you, chosen by God to be Jesus Christ's messenger.
"May His blessings and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be His very own, through what Christ would do for us; He decided to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault - we stand before Him covered with His love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And He did it because He wanted to!"
The Apostle Paul told the Colossians, also Gentiles in verses 1:16..23: "Christ Himself is the creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can't; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for His own use and glory.
He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. He is the Head of the body made up of His people - that is, His church - (Jews and Gentiles) which He began; and He is the Leader of all those who arise from the dead, so that He is first in everything; for God wanted all of Himself to be in His Son. It was through what His Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to Him - all things in heaven and on earth - for Christ's death on the cross has made peace with God for all by His blood.
This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were His enemies and hated Him and were separated from Him by your own evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends... The only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, never shifting from trusting in Him to save you. This is the wonderful news that came to each of you and is now spreading all over the world. And I, Paul, have the joy of telling it to others."
Going back to the prophet Isaiah, he continues in 62:1..7 "Because I love Zion, because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I will not cease to pray for her or to cry out to God on her behalf until she shines forth in His righteousness and is glorious in His salvation. The nations (Gentiles) shall see your righteousness. Kings shall be blinded by your glory; and God will confer on you a new name.
"He will hold you aloft in His hands for all to see - a splendid crown for the King of kings. Never again shall you be called "The God- forsa- ken Land" or the "Land that God Forgot." Your name will be "The Land of God's Delight" and "The Bride," for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own... Take no rest, all you who pray, and give God no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her respected and admired throughout the earth..."
God is discovered in peoples lives by making possible what seems impossible to us. Totally bewildered we accept Romans 8:1-14 "There is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit - and this power is mine through Christ Jesus - has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren't saved from sin's grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can't and don't keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us.
He sent His own Son in a human body like ours - except that ours are sinful - and destroyed sin's control over us by giving Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God's laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the evil
nature within us. Those who let themselves be controlled by their lower natures live only to please themselves, but those who follow after the Holy Spirit find themselves doing those things that please God. Following after the Holy Spirit leads to life and peace, but following after the old nature leads to death, because the old sinful nature within us is against God.
It never did obey God's laws and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their old sinful selves, bent on following their old evil desires, can never please God. But you are not like that. You are controlled by your new nature if you
have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that if anyone doesn't have the Spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all.)"
"Yet, even though Christ lives within you, your body will die because of sin; but your spirit will live, for Christ has pardoned it. And if the Spirit of God, who raised up Jesus from the dead, lives in you, he will make your dying bodies live again after you die, by means of this same Holy Spirit living within you." Romans 8:30-32 (Ibid.) "And having chosen us, he called us to come to Him; and when we came, He declared us "not guilty," filled us with Christ's goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory. What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can be against us? Since He did not spare even his own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won't He also surely give us everything else?"
Those of us who face difficult financial decisions, can look to God and ask His help by searching the Scriptures. The world will punish us for a time for resorting to bankruptcy by taking our credit away, but God will be merciful.