Claiming Israel’s promises!

Nowhere does the Bible teach Christians that God will bless them financially like He did the Israelites.

April 3

You may charge interest to foreigners, but not to Israelites, so the LORD your God may bless you in everything you do in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Deuteronomy 23:20

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Claiming Israel’s promises!

In a culture like the one we live in today; this Scripture might seem a little odd.  That’s okay; it was odd when it was written more than 3,000 years ago.  Even then people expected to pay interest when they borrowed money.  Our question is not if there is going to be interest but how much interest we are going to have to pay.  The book of Deuteronomy was written just before the Israelites entered into the Promised Land.  This was after they had spent forty years wandering around in the wilderness.  During those forty years God had been teaching them through Moses to be a peculiar people.  God wanted them to be different than all the other nations around them.

Today’s verse is one of those differences.  God told them that it was perfectly fine to charge interest on money loaned to foreigners.  In fact, one of the blessings God promised them for their obedience to Him was that they would loan money to others and would not need to borrow money.  God promised the Israelites to bless them financially.  The condition for that blessing was obedience to God’s Word.  To the best of their ability they were to obey all of God’s commands.  One of those commands is found in our verse for the day.  God also warned them that if they were disobedient to this command that the blessing would be reversed; the foreigners would loan them money and charge them interest.

The question we need to ask ourselves is what does this have to do with a modern Christian?  This was a command given to the nation of Israel.  Does it carry over into the life of New Covenant believers?  It would be nice to give you a clear yes or no answer but there isn’t one.  The New Testament does not speak clearly on this topic.  We are then left to look at the intent of the command and determine if it applies to us.

By following this command, the Israelites were doing a number of things.  First and foremost, they were obeying the God who created them and saved them.  Second, by obeying this command they were setting themselves apart from the nations around them.  Third, there was a promise of blessing attached directly to this command.  It is this third one that may or may not apply to New Testament believers.  Nowhere does the Bible teach Christians that God will bless them financially like He did the Israelites.  In His sovereign grace He might bless us financially, but it is not a specific promise.

It is the first two that give us our clearest picture of how we should respond to this verse.  If we do it, we are obeying the God who created us regardless if there is a clear directive of blessing.  It also will set us apart from the world around us.  People in the world will charge us interest, and it is right for us to pay it. It is my opinion that based on Scripture it would be correct (for me) to loan money without interest to other Christians.  On the other hand, if a Christian wants to charge me interest on money he loans me, I will not hesitate to pay it.  This is one of those situations that you need to let your conscience guide you.  Do what the Spirit leads you to do.  Jesus, help us to trust you with everything, even our money.

To listen to this devotional go to the Audio version.

Daily Bible Reading:
Read: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19; Luke 19:13-37; Psalm 75:1-10; Proverbs 12:12-14

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