4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, He will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you as He has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
This is an unusual chapter with the title The Year for Canceling Debts. No wonder we begin in verse 4 with However, there need be no poor people among you! What precede this However, so that there need be no poor people among you? Well, the chapter begins
1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3 You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you.
So that is how! Every seven years debts are to be canceled between Israelites. No 15, 20, or 30 year mortgages there! Notice in verse 4, if this is followed not only will there be no poor among you, but He will richly bless you. In our society canceling debts would be so very difficult, but what if we were promised blessings from God to do so? Israel had these promises, but had to be warned His blessings came if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. And then comes a great caution concerning how the Israelites are to treat the poor among them.
7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Ah, so even with God’s instructions there will still be poor people from time to time and He has instructions on how they are to deal with their poor countrymen and how not to deal with them. In fact He says There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Jesus echoed this saying
The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.
Jesus directions concerning the poor and needy are considered even more difficult by many. For instance He told the young rich man who wanted to inherit eternal life and who had kept the commandments all his life.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The young rich man went away sad as he did not own his riches, but they owned him and the choices he would make. God set up a system, that if followed, in Israel their riches (or greed) would not own them and they would be blessed for not letting their riches own them. How about us do our riches own us?