When you make a loan of any sort to your countryman, you must not enter his house to seize his pledge. You must remain outside, while the man to whom you made the loan brings the pledge out to you. Deuteronomy 24:10-11
Pledge – If you make a loan to a member of the community of grace, you can ask for collateral. But you may not seize collateral even though it is due to you. The rabbis interpreted this commandment very broadly. They understood it to mean that you cannot take collateral anywhere that the borrower has property. You must wait for the borrower to bring you the ‘avot, the pledge. Why?
God’s instructions for living are filled with grace. In this case, grace is demonstrated by respect for the dignity of another. Nothing could be more important to a man who is forced to ask for a loan. Personal dignity is upheld because the creditor is not allowed to treat the borrower as if he were a slave. The prohibition from taking collateral means that the lender must respect the dignity of the borrower. The borrower is allowed to act voluntarily. The transaction requires consideration on both sides.
You might think that this tiny requirement has little application in the modern world of finance. After all, loans today are usually transacted with anonymous corporations. You never really know the creditor. You just know the name of the bank. But that entire process already undermines the personal dignity of the creditor-borrower relationship. The system of the world endorses anonymous debt. There is no personal relationship between lender and borrower. And since there is no personal relationship, the possibility of fraud or failure to pay is substantially increased. After all, your debt isn’t to any real person. It’s just a debt with some giant corporation. There is no face to this loan.
It is the removal of the personal element that has caused so much abuse of the financial system. In the community of God’s Kingdom all of the regulations acted to prevent this anonymous irresponsibility. Debts were very personal, and as a result, had to be treated with the utmost respect for both parties. But today, debts are nothing more than an account number and a negative balance.
What would happen if we, the followers of Yeshua, began to restore God’s financial system? What would change in the economic system if we made loans according to God’s instructions? How would those debts affect us if we had faces attached to every transaction? Restoring the Kingdom is a lot more than simply building churches or spreading the good news to the lost. Kingdom systems replace worldly systems. Things are not done “as usual.”
Give some thought to what happens when God brings His Kingdom to the earth. That’s what we pray for, isn’t it? Then why do we continue to do things according to the systems of this world? Are we ready to be transformed – entirely?
Topical Index: debt, loan, collateral, pledge, ‘avot, dignity, Deuteronomy 24:10-11