Read Nehemiah 5 as background.
Wealthy Jews were charging high dues for collateral loans. People were using their land and as a result they lost their houses, lands, and vineyards. They did it because they had to feed their families. Nehemiah was angry when he found out. There is a right way to be angry. If not, anger becomes sin. The people were violating God’s law. Nehemiah 5:7 says that he consulted with himself. In other words he sat down and thought about it. He cooled off before meeting with the nobles and rulers. Then he rebuked them for how they had treated their fellow Jews who needed the loans. They forgave the debt and gave property back to the people. Let’s look at debt.
As illustrated here in Chapter 5 we see its domination. They mortgaged everything, sometimes even their children, by putting them in bondage to pay off debt. There were reasons for the people getting into this debt. There was a famine (v3). There were too many taxes (v4) and interest rates were too high (v5). They violated the Word of God. When we do that, we’re headed for trouble. We need repentance in this land. In Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy we read where Jews were not to charge a fellow Jew interest, yet they were doing it. It was not wrong to lend and charge interest to a non-Jew, but they were not to do it to each other. Debt affects a person. How? It causes mental unrest, loss of sleep and health as well as family problems.
Debt is anything owed to anyone. Debt comes in categories of credit card, consumer, mortgage, investment and business debt. Using a credit card is fine as long as the balance is paid off each month. There should be a warning on a credit card. Failure to pay results in high fees and interest that keeps adding up. Consumer debt is used to finance cars, homes, vacations, etc. Even this should be avoided if possible. There was a time people saved up for everything. If they didn’t have the money, they didn’t buy it. We live in an instant gratification time and people want it now. Mortgage debt is something most have to do for a house or vehicle.
Debt is not a sin. It is discouraged but not prohibited. Why? The borrower becomes a servant to the lender when he/she borrows. Debt is the #2 reason people give for not tithing. They say they can’t afford to tithe. Debt is a trap. It’s attractive just as any trap is. The trap is baited to lure you in. It’s easy to get into and virtually impossible to get out. Debt takes away from the future. The real problem is greed and more and more money won’t help. Even with more money, the financial problems will still be there. If you owe, you need to pay. Be honest in your dealings.
What can you do? God has entrusted us with everything we have. Transfer ownership to him. It belongs to him anyway. Everyone needs a definite financial plan where God gets off the top. He’ll bless as we obey his principles. A proper budget sets us free; it doesn’t enslave us. Seek God first and he will supply our needs.
There is a debt, your greatest, and you cannot pay it. That debt is sin. Some get baptized or join a church. They do good deeds or live a good life. All this is good. We should all do it, but salvation comes first. Then you’re baptized and join a church. All Christians should live a good life. The God we worship on Sunday is to be served throughout the week. How do you get out of the sin debt? It’s been paid! Two thousand years ago Jesus paid the sin debt when he died on the cross. We must accept this payment for sin and receive Jesus as Savior. This is the only way to get out of this debt. It must be received and accepted by each person. Then we’re set free! It’s our worst debt and the easiest to get out of. Believe and accept Jesus. Do it today.