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Deuteronomy 23 (ESV)
19 “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
21 “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. 23 You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.
Archeologists have found documents from cultures contemporary with the Old Testament that state interest rates. Some laws limited the rates that could be charged, but 15th-century contracts found at Nuzi, in northern Assyrian, record interest rates of 50 percent! The principle here is clear. We are to help those in need, not oppress them further for our own profit. If God is in control of our finances, then we ought to trust him completely to provide for our every need and hold loosely to the money that we have.
A vow was a voluntary gift sometimes contingent on God’s answering a prayer for help. The point of the passage is that, since it is voluntary, one must follow through with paying the vow. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches against the taking of vows, arguing that our yes or no should stand on its own (Matt 5:33-37).
Have I ever made a vow (promise) to God, or to others? What was the situation? Have I fulfilled my vow? Why or why not?
God, you are a Promise Keeper. You will keep your agreement forever; you will keep your promises always. Help me to be a promise keeper to you and to others. I ask for your help in fulfilling this promise ______________________________. (Ps 105:8, New Century Version)