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Our chapter today institutes laws that, according to 2 Chronicles 36:21, were largely ignored in Israel. It would take a lot of faith to take every seventh year off from work and expect God to provide. Then all debts were to be forgiven every forty-nine years. That not only requires faith, but also generosity. The forgiveness of debts and returning of land would prevent a person from living in a permanent state of poverty.

In Israel, extreme poverty was avoided through regulation. Today, we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. The methods we use to address poverty are up to us, but being concerned for the poor is not optional. In Israel, the regulations didn’t provide handouts, thereby encouraging people to not work, they just provided a way for a person to recover from a financial disaster and return to providing for oneself. We would be wise to seek similar solutions today.