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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Aug. 4, 2008

  • 2008 Aug 04

Cave of Troubles - Debt

Those Who Were in Debt

The Hebrew word for those in debt describes those who are hopelessly in debt. (Hebrew word number 5378 nasha means 'money lent at usury’)

There was another group that came to David—those who were in debt. You see, God attempted to protect His people from debt because in that day a man in debt was actually in a terrible predicament. This is the law that God gave:

  • If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest. (Exodus 22:25)

God protected the poor. But apparently Saul did not enforce the Mosaic Law. And you’ll find out that even later on, during the time of Elisha, this was said:

  • A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” (2 Kings 4:1)

In Saul’s day, many men in debt were in danger of being sold into slavery. But before they could be taken into slavery, they ran off and joined up with David. That is the context of this passage. We have a similar problem facing us today as Americans.

We are surrounded by the pressures that our debt driven society heaps upon us. Competition, rivalry, discontentment, pride, and greed all combine to make Americans work long hours, multiple jobs—and still not have all they want. As a nation we are flooded worse than New Orleans was with water—with overwhelming debt! And the toll of the mental, physical, and emotional pressures and stresses we bear are mounting each day.

The National Public Debt that each of us as citizens of the USA collectively owe stood at  $ 7,918,009,471,434.33 yesterday. (September 2005)

The US population on Saturday stood at: 295,734,134

That amounts to $26,774.08 each of us here this morning—man, woman, and child owes to our creditors mostly foreign investors. That means each of us are probably hopelessly in debt. It would take that to get America out of debt today.

 So why don’t you pay your share? Well, most of us can’t pay; we are in debt. However, we all owe a greater debt that merely the dollars of the National Debt.

“I’m talking about a debt that sin has put us under. Our Lord taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts,” because we are in debt. And it was Paul who said to the Galatians,

  • And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. (Galatians 5:3)

You and I today are debtors to measure up to God’s standard, and it is a debt we cannot pay. Paul says that we can’t; according to the flesh, we would never measure up.

  • Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (Romans 8:12) 

If you attempt to live by the flesh, you will find yourself so far in debt you will never be able to ransom yourself out. But the hymn has it right: “He paid the debt and set us free.” When you and I were hopelessly and helplessly in debt, the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross and paid that debt, and that is what forgiveness is today.”

David knew his sins were forgiven, that was his surest and dearest possession. He confesses for all the world to hear: 

  • Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 

The joyful awareness of our unpayable debt of sin being paid in full by Christ is our strength as we go through life. We have confidence that we can face God someday because we know that the death of Jesus Christ God’s Son has forgiven us, His blood has cleansed us, and His life assures us that we will safely arrive at home with Him. 

A poem captures this truth, based on a gravestone with just the word forgiven inscribed upon it. 

Not far from New York, in a cemetery lone,

Close guarding its grave, stands a simple headstone,

And all the inscription is one word alone—Forgiven.

No sculptor’s fine art hath embellish’d its form,

But constantly there, through the calm and the storm,

It beareth this word from a poor fallen worm—Forgiven.

It shows not the date of the silent one’s birth,

Reveals not his frailties, nor lies of his worth,

But speaks out the tale from his few feet of earth—Forgiven.

The death is unmention’d, the name is untold,

Beneath lies the body, corrupted and cold,

Above rests his spirit, at home in the fold—Forgiven.

And when from the heavens the Lord shall descend,

This stranger shall rise and in glory ascend,

Well-known and befriended, to sing without end—Forgiven.
—Author unknown 

As far as we know, David never paid the debt of any of his mighty men, but the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross and paid my debt.  

I can say today, “I’m forgiven”?  

Can you say, “I am a forgiven sinner; He has forgiven me”? That’s the only way in the world you will ever get the real debt canceled, the one that determines your eternal destiny.


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