Praise the Lord . . . who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. . . .
— Psalm 103:2-4
Her name was Shapla, and I could see the fear in her teenage eyes. When strangers came to her village in rural Bangladesh, she feared they would take her away. This had happened to her sister. Shapla’s family was very poor; they had become indebted to a ruthless moneylender. Her sister had been “traded” to pay some of the debt, but part of the debt remained.
These new visitors, however, had come to help launch a village savings and loan program. This would help Shapla’s parents and their neighbors to save money and take low-interest loans so that they could buy seed and fertilizer to grow healthy crops. This new venture would also put the local moneylender out of business and free Shapla’s family from their debt to him. They were “redeemed” from that debt.
In the Bible redemption is not only a spiritual concept but also a practice by which one person can “redeem” another by paying a price. The book of Ruth tells a story about that. Similarly, Shapla’s family was redeemed of their debt by the intervention of their village savings and loan program.
Ultimately, of course, only God can redeem us from sin and guilt, and he graciously does this through the precious gift of Jesus, who gave his life so that we can live with him.
Dear God, thank you for redeeming us in Jesus Christ. And thank you for programs that liberate people from crippling debt. With our whole being we praise you, Lord! In Christ, Amen.