S (Scripture): Jeremiah 34:8 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty for their slaves: 9 everyone was to free their male and female Hebrew slaves and no longer hold a Judean brother or sister in bondage. 10 So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed to free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage; they obeyed the king’s command[a] and let them go. 11 But afterward they broke their promise, took back the men and women they had freed, and enslaved them again.
12 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 13 The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 14 I said that every seventh year each of you must free any Hebrews who have been sold to you. After they have served you for six years, you must set them free. But your ancestors didn’t obey or pay any attention to me. 15 Recently you turned about and did what was right in my sight; each of you proclaimed liberty for the other and made a covenant before me in the temple that bears my name. 16 But then you went back on your word and made my name impure; each of you reclaimed the men and women you had set free and forced them to be your slaves again.
O (Observation): To serve out of indebtedness and to be forgiven is the standard for God’s people of the day. Yet out of a sense of mercy, they are to forgive one another every 7 years. All are to be released and allowed to be forgiven of their debt. What is owed is no longer owed.
Yet God’s people enslaved one another again. Why do we do that?
A (Application): Why do try to keep in place that which is detrimental to us. God knows that freeing one another from a debt is about the healthiest thing we can do.
We work hard to help one another and pay off debts when we can. But if we are truly unable, what benefit is there in holding a debt over someone who cannot repay?
We do the honorable thing and help one another. We contribute to society. Some will take advantage of this, but most debts can be absorbed without too much of a cost.
Releasing is the idea. God released the people from one another’s debt in order to help them all see that freedom is the goal for us. Free from having to serve one another. And yet free to choose to serve one another.
This is our hope. Freedom for all. Service to all.
We are free to love and serve our neighbor. We seek to assist those devastated by Hurricane Dorian and all who seek refuge and care after natural disasters. We rally around this freedom that we have to help others.
P (Prayer): Lord, you have freed us. Help us to free one another. Be with those stranded and mourning the loss of life in the Bahamas and in other areas affected by Hurricane Dorian. Amen.