“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 26 from Deuteronomy
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 15 verse 1-11
The poor you will have with you always
God’s direction concerning our attitude and actions toward those in need
At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, for the Lord’s release is proclaimed. 3 Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother [Israelite] your hand shall release. 4 But there will be no poor among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess, 5 If only you carefully listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to do watchfully all these commandments which I command you this day. 6 When the Lord your God blesses you as He promised you, then you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. 7 If there is among you a poor man, one of your kinsmen in any of the towns of your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your [minds and] hearts or close your hands to your poor brother; 8 But you shall open your hands wide to him and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. 9 Beware lest there be a base thought in your [minds and] hearts, and you say, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand, and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin in you. 10 You shall give to him freely without begrudging it; because of this the Lord will bless you in all your work and in all you undertake. 11 For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hands to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor in your land. Deuteronomy 15:1-11 AMP
1. God’s way of ensuring that there was no poor amongst His people was to apply what was called a Sabbath Year of Release every seven years.
a. This meant that anyone, who had lent money or goods to his neighbor, and not been repaid after six years, was to forgive his neighbor of that debt
b. If it was a foreigner – an outsider – who owed the debt, they could still collect it
2. There shall be no poor among you, for the Lord will bless you to be a blessing
a. The Lord will bless you if you will carefully listen to the Lord your God and watchfully do all His commandments and bless your neighbor
b. When you bless your neighbor and then when the Lord God blesses you as He has promised: i) you shall lend to many nations and shall not borrow; ii) you shall rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you
3. Directions given by God on what to do when your neighbor is in need:
a. You must have a soft heart and an open hand to the needy
b. You should open your hand wide to him – you shall lend him sufficient for his needs
c. If you try to ignore your obligation and squirm out of it, you will get into trouble with God!
d. You will give it to the needy freely, without grudging. Because of this, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake
4. The poor will never cease out of the land
a. You will always have the needy people to help
b. You should always open wide your hands to your brother and the poor and needy in your land
Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
God loves people and He expects us to love and care for one another. Most people read the Law and see the rules and the regulations; they see the penalties and punishments. They look on the external. However, if you understand that God is love and you realize that mercy is His primary motivation, you read the Law with different eyes. You see that the whole law can truly be summed up in just two commandments: love God and love your neighbor. Also – obey God cheerfully, with your whole heart, not grudgingly. It is not merely actions that God rewards, it is attitude. When you get a revelation that you are God’s hands in the earth and that you are doing His work and that He will make sure that you are personally blessed and abundantly taken care of, and you freely give your help, then you will open your life to the full blessing of God. If you consider the poor, God will deliver you in your time of trouble, preserve you and keep you alive, bless you on the earth, protect you from your enemies, and strengthen and sustain you when sickness attacks! (Psalms 41:1-3)
Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
It is amazing to me how many people expect the blessing of the Lord on their life, and yet they are stingy and selfish when it comes to forgiving others of their debts or blessing the poor. God, under the Old Covenant, ensured that people could get a new start. Today, the only way for a person to get a new start is through bankruptcy – which is not a blessing. Some people have a negative attitude toward the poor and the needy. They feel that it’s not their problem, or that the poor are taking advantage by asking. However, God has compassion on the poor. He said that he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him. (Proverbs 19:17 AMP)
Prayer and Confession:
Father God, I thank you for a heart that is soft toward the things of God and toward the needy. Thank you, Lord, that I am generous and willing to help people and also to release people from debt if necessary. Therefore I thank you for your blessing upon my work and on all that I undertake.