Friday, 25 December 2015

The Moral Prohibition against Usury applies to both one's Brothers and Enemies, not just one's Brothers

 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

The human heart is oh so legalistic. It loves to only love for its own self-interest, and hate only our of its own self-interest. It loves to strive for law, for its enables it to justify its own self-righteousness and seeks to be able to exploit loopholes in it, to do what it lawful, but yet according to its own self-interest from which there is no love at all, whatsoever. However, no one can seek to exploit loopholes in the Law of God and yet fulfill it by means of selflessly loving God and others for love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10). Any thing which is not done out of love is violation of the Law of God. To sin is to fail to love God and to fail to love others. However, so often we have trouble thinking this way because of the legalism of the flesh. 

It is all too easy to interpret Deuteronomy 23:19-20 to mean that one cannot charge usury against one's own brother, those who one loves, but can do so against those who one does not love as it says: 

 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Deuteronomy 23:19-20 has been interpreted legalistically by many theologians and many in the modern Church, who make it a matter of whether the person is a brother or not. However, Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44).  

What He is saying is to love others, whether neighbour or enemy. The provision in Deuteronomy 23:19-20 is one concerning loving one's neighbour and hating one's enemy which Jesus was addressing. This is because the prohibition of usury is derived from God's nature. It is not some ceremonial or civil law given to Israel, but a Moral Law of God.

There is no such qualification to the prohibition on usury, on any grounds including whether one was Jewish or not, neighbour or enemy.  The prohibition of usury is of the universal absolute eternal Moral Law of God.