The Coming Global Economic Reset and the Promises of God
Deuteronomy chapter 15, verses 1-11
by Minister Paul J. Bern
My topic for this week has to do with what will happen when our capitalist, debt-based economic system runs out of fuel – that is, hard currency. This can get people to question my motivations for preaching and teaching the Word of the Lord with economic issues intermixed with my message. My reason is fairly simple – economic justice and true faith are 2 sides of the same coin. Anyone who professes their “Christianity” and yet gets offended at the very thought of economic justice makes themselves a hypocrite. Sorry if that offends anyone, but not for the reason why. Poor people aren’t poor because they’re lazy, it’s because they are being denied any opportunity to succeed.
But, there is an even bigger problem with capitalism that is coming towards us as I write these words, and that is the very concept of compound interest. Back when I was young, I remember being taught about the “miracle of compound interest”. You know the story Start with one dollar and add a penny’s worth of interest compounded daily, and after 30 years time you would be a millionaire. So a lot of people started doing that, especially after World War 2 ended in 1945. What nobody saw coming at that time took decades to manifest itself. When you get too many governments, people and companies playing the same game, sooner or later the house is going to run out of chips. We are getting precariously close to this point as I write these words. The government’s solution is to print more money, but that will ultimately make things get even worse than they are.
What the overwhelming majority of people today fail to realize is the solution to this economic dilemma is right there in the Bible. It’s been there all long, but people have a tendency to overlook it because it doesn’t fit the paradigm of living in the early 21st century. Contrast life as we know it, which is an ever-rising spiral of financial servitude as we pay down our never-ending debts, to the way debts were handled back in the time of Moses’ leadership. To do this, we must travel back in time to the book of Deuteronomy, which was and is considered to be the fifth and final Book of the Law. Our text for this week will be Deuteronomy chapter 15, beginning at verse 1.
“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. 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.” (Deut. 15, verses 1-6)
As everyone can clearly see in verse 1, the ‘traditional’ 30-year mortgage is a 20th century invention hatched from deep inside the hallowed office towers of Wall St The longest-term loans available under the Law of Moses was 7 years, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that capitalism as it currently exists is sinful. Not that any believers are deliberately sinning. I don’t think that’s the case at all, yet all are being led into sin by our Western economic systems as they currently exist. Verse 2 is pretty self-explanatory. In verse 3, the term “foreigner” means anyone who is a non-Jew, which meant the overwhelming majority of people in that part of the world. Jews were a tiny minority back in those days just like they are now.
The next verses are a warning and an admonition from the Lord to the ancient Israeli’s first, and then the Gentiles – don’t cheat people or take undue advantage of them. “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.” See there? America, and the world that revolves around it, would be in far better shape had we simply obeyed the Book of Deuteronomy. “For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none….” This is the United States as it used to be more than 50 years ago, but sadly we have been turned inside out and become the greatest debtor nation. Personally, I’m old enough to remember those times when we were the greatest lender, and they were sure better than what we have now.
OK, so I have 5 verses to go to finish my message for this week, so let’s return to Deuteronomy one more time: “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.” (Deut. 15, verses 7-11)
“7) If anyone is poor among you…. 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.” I’ve said it before and I will once again – there will be no stingy people in heaven. No selfishness, no greed and the complete absence of malice and avarice. It’s our job as Christ followers to live up to this standard, even to the point of emulating Christ by sacrificing our lives to save others. Back in the 1st century AD, there were no government agencies that worked with the poor, there was no retirement, no disability, none of any of that. People worked for as long as they could, and then they usually died or were killed in battle. Life was extremely hard back then, and it was usually fairly short as well.
“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.” Let no one dare to use this law as a legal maneuver or an accounting method against a business customer or competitor, let alone in a house of worship or other nonprofit NGO.
Those who continue to adhere to this law are duty-bound to be as fair (just) and equitable (even handedness) as they can in all their business dealings and particularly their domestic relationships. Here in the digital age, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain this spiritual state of readiness. One thing is for certain: Adherence to this code of the Spirit will result in an inheritance that is everlasting. On the other hand, refusal to adhere to this Spirit, or to profess disbelief, will result in a damnation that is equally eternal.
“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.” Notice the difference here between the modern mainstream churches and the 3,000-year-old Book of Deuteronomy? When authentic Christians give, we do so expecting nothing in return. Not so with the modern “church”, who teach that to obtain what one needs, one must first give, and with high expectations. But as you just read above in verse 10, quite the opposite is true when put into practice. Yep, it’s counter-intuitive, I know. But the fact remains they have to be put into practice, and in the above sequence, to be effective.
“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.” Poverty is a fact of life, and especially back in the time of Christ the Lord. It’s on us as to how to deal with it. Jesus taught at the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5: 3) So there’s your answer. God made the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill, convicts, widows and orphans in His own image. The reason we have so many poor people is because too many others have hoarded far more than they need. Either that, or the disadvantaged were denied medical treatments or opportunities to further their education. Many are homeless and in need of shelter. I can’t offer much help in that regard, since I live in my own apartment and don’t own property. But others more prosperous than I could help out. until this economic reset finishes taking place. At the end of the day, the interest on all our debts is now accruing at a faster rate than it can be paid down. Only time will tell how all this plays out. I don’t think it’s going to be necessary to store a 25 year supply of freeze dried foods, like some are saying on You Tube. Some serious prayer time would be a better substitute.