I’ve now hit Deuteronomy in my Bible reading, and actually covered about 10 chapters or so. I use a Bible with no chapter numbers or verses, and it’s amazing how quickly the chapters fly by when you don’t know they’re there. (And actually, there were no chapter or verse divisions in the Bible until about 500 years ago or so).
There’s a lot I’d like to write on. But here’s what struck me today. In Deuteronomy 15:1-2, it says this,
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how to cancel debt: Every creditor is to cancel what he has lent his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the Lord’s release of debts has been proclaimed.
“The Lord’s release of debts has been proclaimed.”
I’ve never thought of it this way, but at the Cross, the true “Lord’s release of debts” was proclaimed.
Paul put it this way,
And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
And since God proclaimed a release of our debts on the cross, how much more should we release others from the “debts” they owe us.
I’m not talking about monetary debts, of course, but all the grudges we hold in our hearts toward others for the wrongs they’ve done to us.
For the Israelites, the 7 year mark was a time for them to remember that it was time to let go of debts owed to them.
How often, though do we hold our grudges for year on end?
Perhaps for us, it would be good to think not in terms of every 7 years, but every 7 days. Every Sabbath, remember the spiritual rest that God gave us in Christ. That because of Jesus’ work on the cross, our debts have been forgiven. Then think of the debts that people owe us from that week. And let them go.
Is that easy? No. But another theme from the passages I read today is one of dependence. we are never to forget our dependence on God. And perhaps one of the reasons God allows us to experience hurt in our lives, is to remember just how much we need to depend on him. In this case, it means to depend on him for strength to forgive. To depend on him for the love that others refuse to give us. To depend on him to heal our hurts.
So when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we should remember that we depend on God not only for our physical needs, but for our emotional and spiritual needs as well.
And with that heart of humility and dependence, we also pray,
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)