Christian Financial Advice and Biblical Stewardship

Bankruptcy According to the Bible

  • 2003 7 Apr
Bankruptcy According to the Bible

Bankruptcy is not something new to the 21st century or our culture. The nation of Israel became well acquainted with bankruptcy 2,500 years ago during the time of the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. The ¨B¨ word was just as dreaded then as it is now, and its cause and effect were the same then as they are today.

The True Cause Of Bankruptcy
The true cause of bankruptcy is not high interest rates, recessions, depressions, oil crises, government regulations, etc., rather, the true cause is the sin of our having turned our backs on God as our supply and toward the world's system as our master. No man ever filed bankruptcy who did not first go into debt and thereby make the lender, rather than Jesus, his master. Bankruptcy is the consequence of that sin, even though we may well have been ignorant of God's Word on the matter at that time.

Through Isaiah and Jeremiah, God told the Israelites many times and in many ways iayou have left me and refuse to return, so I am turning my back on you.ln God then appointed the heathen King Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to take the Israelites captive to Babylon and disburse their wealth to the nations. The Israelites then had no time to, nor were they in the position to, serve God. They and all they had were at the whim of King Nebuchadnezzar and his army. They had forfeited the privilege of serving God for the pleasures of the world, and now they were paying the price. This was bankruptcy in its true and cruel form.

God knew that if He allowed the adversity of bankruptcy to come against His people, they would call upon Him and He would deliver them from captivity. How often do we, in the midst of bankruptcy, weep in repentance and call upon God to deliver us. If we are truly repentant, and walk in repentance, He will deliver us just as He delivered Israel from Babylon. His delivery comes in His time and in His way, so we must patiently endure until His time comes.

What Is Bankruptcy?
Think of King Nebuchadnezzar as the bankruptcy judge, his army as our creditors and the Israelites as ourselves in bankruptcy. We are before the judge because we have moved away from God and made the world system our master. The army of creditors is moving in under the direction of the judge to take all that we have, even down to our home and the clothes on our back. Bankruptcy is the consequence of our sin of having moved away from God, and the judge and the creditors are His chosen instruments to bring those consequences upon us. In the midst of bankruptcy we must remember that all the judge and our creditors are doing is what we have, in the midst of our moving away from God, allowed them to do.

Should We File Bankruptcy?
This is not a proper question. The proper question is where are we with God? If we just make the decision to file bankruptcy, and do not understand the scriptural reasons of why we are where we are, we will most probably return to bankruptcy again. But, if we will seek to find where we are with God in the midst of our financial dilemma, God will show us why we are in financial trouble. At that point God may well decide, just as He did with Israel, that we must suffer the consequence of bankruptcy or, in His grace, He may deliver us from filing bankruptcy. Rest assured that He loves us and will bring into our lives the circumstances that are best for us and His purposes at the time.

How each man interprets his circumstances at the time, relative to filing bankruptcy, is between him and God. So, we really do not make the decision to file or not to file; rather, we recognize and repent for our sins that caused us to be where we are. Then we allow Him to dictate the answer about filing through the circumstances in our lives at the time.

How Do We Come Out Of Bankruptcy?
. . . and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes . . . .
(Deuteronomy 30:2 NIV)

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