Sun Am 18 August 2019 – Johan Esterhuizen
(Rom. 13:8); (Neh. 5:1-13); Deut. 7:1-2; Ps. 24:1; (Num. 13:27); (1 Tim. 6:10); Josh. 1:8; Col. 2:8, 20-21; 1 Jn. 2:16-17; Eccl. 1:8; Matt. 6:24; Prov. 22:6-7; 2 Cor. 9:7
I have a series entitled: ‘Breaking the Cycle of Debt’. This morning I want to do the background and address the spirit that controls debt. I want to share some exciting things. Do you know it is God’s will and purpose for your life that you owe man nothing except love? (Rom. 13:8). No matter what your financial position is, no matter where you are, the good news is you can become and live debt free. God’s plan for our country is also to be debt free. We have seen the decline of the finances of this nation. There is a picture of a nation that is in dire straits, the people are poverty-stricken (Neh. 5:1-13).
At that time, God gives Nehemiah a revelation, a Word to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that had fallen. The walls were for the security of the nation and Jerusalem had great significance. The people could not participate because they had no money for the wall. It is sad when you want to give and you believe you must give but you cannot because you are in debt. Because of the financial climate and the poor produce, they were in tremendous financial problems. They had large families to feed and no grain to prepare for the harvest. They had to mortgage their real estate, their fields and even their houses. The interest rate was charged high by their brothers. You must realise that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Ps. 24:1). God gave the Promised Land and each person had an inheritance. He never intended for them to be in bondage. There were the King’s taxes as well. The result put them further in debt. They cried out and they say we cannot help to build the wall and the wall was too expensive. Nehemiah came up with a plan, he rebuked the nobles. Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them (Neh. 5:11). Doing these three things, it will resolve the debt. They agreed and the programme went forward.
God has a plan and a purpose for each of us to be debt free. When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them (Deut. 7:1-2). Why make no covenant with them? Because there was a system of operating in the Promised Land that God did not want the children of Israel to follow. Godly governance is found in the book of Deuteronomy, the blue print is there. Pray today that God will raise men and women to rule with godly governance.
The seven nations represent areas in our life that we have to get victory over and strongholds that must be broken in the country. Pastor John Enlow in his excellent book “The Seven Mountains Prophecy” analyses the meaning of the Hebrew names of the seven ‘mountains’. There is one in particular I want to pay attention to this morning. It is Canaan. Canaan represents money. The Bible never says ‘the land’ of the Hittites, Girgashites … but the Promised Land of Canaan, where milk and honey flow and where the pomegranates grow (Num. 13:27). It is one of the ‘mountains’ that rules. Canaan in the Hebrew means ‘merchant’, ‘trader’, ‘trafficker’, ‘to be humbled and brought low’, ‘to be under subjection’. Together these two give a picture of greed and poverty. The Canaan spirit is to get people to be overzealous in their trading and trafficking and to become subject to poverty.
The love of money is the root of all evil, not money (1 Tim. 6:10). The Canaan spirit is greedy, controls and puts people into debt. When you live under the Canaan philosophy, you live either in poverty or in financial euphoria. But when you live under the banner of Jehovah Jireh, the Lord that sees ahead and provides, you are not only receiving the Lord’s provision but you shall have good success.
You just cannot get a hold on to debt. There are rates, taxes, school fees, petrol hikes, there is inflation. I am going to give four important principles. First, you must learn to work hard. Nothing of worth in life comes easy. Secondly, we must live on less than what we make. Then we must get out of debt and live by a plan. A budget is not something you put in a drawer; it is something you live by. My principle and my philosophy has always been that God wants his people to be financially free. Imagine the only thing you owe is love!
Getting out of debt is not difficult. Firstly, you do not know and you have never been taught. Secondly, you must learn about money. David Ramsey wrote a book entitled: ‘The Total Money Workover’. Get that book, do research; apply the principles.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Josh. 1:8). Let the word of God be on your mind, understand the Scripture, get it into your mouth and spirit and then put into motion. So it is a mouth, a meditation and a motion with the Word of God. You have to do what you say you believe. There has to be corresponding action, to believe alone is not enough. When you take action, there is change and growth in your life.
One of the reasons we are in so much debt is that we live in a culture that believes in instant gratification. “Buy now, pay later”. This humanistic society is based on hedonism, on pleasure. There is no Scripture that describes more strongly the Canaan spirit than, Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8). If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (Col. 2:20-21). This is the basic principle of the world. We live by the sensory perception but we must live beyond that. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 Jn. 2:16-17).
The time has come for stewardship. A steward is somebody who operates in a different way than the world does. We are stewards of the money we earn. It is not yours. God has given us talents, gifts and abilities. You must multiply that so you can gain resources to serve Him and others. That is stewardship. We must become accountable for the money we earn. If you are not accountable for the money you earn you will get yourself into debt. Living right is not complicated but it might be difficult. Getting out of debt is not complicated but it might be difficult. Debt has become a habit for many of us. You look impressive on the outside but desperate on the inside. Debt is like an addiction, we live on credit, credit and more credit. That is the Canaan spirit. We need to analyse and learn about money. Ninety per cent of our people spend their money on things they cannot afford (Eccl. 1:8).
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24). It is terrible if you want to give but you cannot. Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov. 22:6-7).
We have to be trained in the area of finances. More stress is caused by debt than anything else. Debt is not a pleasant word. These are some synonyms of debt: owe, obligated, liable, in deficit, in default, indignant, destitute, in distress, in difficulty, reduced to ruin, impoverished, beaten down, unable to make ends meet, embarrassed, wasted. Why do we tolerate it? We can become debt free. The Word of God is full of principles and next time I am going to share with you a simple plan to become debt free.
You need to understand that there is a spirit, the Canaan spirit that rules and wants to impoverish us. We have to pray and break this stronghold over our country. We need to identify it. This must be the land of Jehovah Jireh. It all starts with a true commitment; it is one you will not turn from. Let us forget the legalities, let us get into the spirit of giving. One of the keys to become debt free is to be a giver. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor.9:7). I believe that God wants to raise up a house where people are debt free and the biggest debt we will have is to love!