The Bills Are Now Due
By Jim Josephsen
Only 22 days into 2008, and economic turmoil is evident
worldwide. At home, America’s financial prowess is in peril, at risk of
recession. Prominent institutions like
Ford Motor Corp,
Home Depot, many of the
future 500 companies, the
Mom and Pop businesses
of the Midwest, even the colossal
government, are revealing a
fiscal reality which is
in grave, serious trouble.
On the 21st day of January Britain's benchmark
FTSE-100 slumped 5.5
percent; France's CAC-40 Index
tumbled 6.8 percent and Germany's blue-chip
DAX 30 plunged 7.2 percent.
benchmark stock index tumbled 7.4 percent, while
Hong Kong's blue-chip Hang Seng
index plummeted 5.5 percent.
Stock Exchange closed down 4 percent and
Brazil’s stocks plunged 6.9
There is no debate; the current U.S. economic downturn is already adversely
affecting the economies of the world. As required, market and fiscal corrections
will be made, some naturally, some by force of governments, both at home and
worldwide, with results, some favorable, others distressing.
In America, plausible market investments, portfolios owned by hard working,
middle-class, patriotic Americans,
baby boomers, hoping to
see the joys of retirement, have dropped more than the gains that were realized
in all of 2007; many profits have been eradicated. Brokers and Market Funds
Managers scratch their heads; uncertain what to do.
Talk-show economists, intent on promoting their insipid books, express no great
long term concern with the economic times we now face; reassuring their
listeners now is the time to buy, now is the time to reinvest; now is the time
to take advantage of others misfortunes; postulating now is the opportunity to
prepare for the next boom.
Perhaps a look into the Word of God will provide logical insight as to the
realities we now face. The economy is now answering to years of patterned fiscal
behavior, most of it poor, irresponsible, avarice in nature, characterized as
unrighteousness. “To every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the
misery of man is great upon him” (Ecclesiastes 8:6).
As of now, God does not have to intervene in man’s behavior to bring judgment
upon his chosen ways. God simply allows the natural consequences of man’s chosen
behavior to develop to their logical ends, of their own accord. Yet God has
given fair warning regarding attitudes and behavior when it comes to individual
fiscal practices and national fiscal policies. If God’s laws, His commands are
broken, the natural results will be tragic for man and for a nation.
If a nation claims to be God’s people, claims to follow His Son, as this
“Christian” nation claims, then they had better obey His words, His commands. If
not, disaster and punishment will follow.
America’s collective sins, its collective disobedience toward God automatically
results in lives filled with misery, emptiness, ruin and despair. Likewise,
America’s collective breaking of God’s laws regarding sound fiscal policy is now
producing these same tragic results. America’s economic behavior is unacceptable
to God Almighty and His Word reveals where we have gone wrong.
“As the partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, so is he who makes a
fortune, but unjustly; in the midst of his days it will forsake him and in the
end he will be a fool” (Jeremiah 17:11).
Consider Proverbs 13:11; “Wealth obtained by vanity [by chasing after wind
(short term gains] and not by diligent, knowledgeable and persistent hard work)
shall diminish: but he that gathers by labor shall increase.” Could there be
any greater winds, vacillating, than those that are blowing throughout all the
various markets today?
Consider the vanities; the business practices which these nation-wide predatory
sub-prime lenders have chased over the past five years; the results now clearly
seen in the collapsing housing and mortgage industries. The practice of
providing loans to those who are unqualified, those who are at great risk to
default has repercussions the costs of which are incalculable.
In addition, a law of God is being broken – “you shall not oppress the poor.”
Notice what the Word of God has to say: “He that oppresses the poor to increase
his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want … Rob not
the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the
LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them”
(Proverbs 22:16, 22-23).
Notice: “The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and
have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully”
(Ezekiel 22:29). God will execute judgment against any person or business that
practices, or nation that allows these unethical and sinful fiscal practices.
Talk to average Americans and their voices are loud and clear, “I can’t handle
it anymore.” Millions are crying to their elected officials; “get me out of this
And the government to the rescue. “If Congress passes an economic stimulus
package, the country will be just fine,” were the words of President Bush as he
called for $150 billion in tax relief for consumers and businesses, adding,
“There’s no time to waste.” Considering a one time tax rebate as part of the
package the President says Congress must legislate quickly.
Will governmental intervention; will federal funds rate adjustments correct the
woes besetting the American economy?
The debt Americans have amassed is radically disturbing. The US government is
running a budget deficit of over $1.8 billion per day.
The U.S. national debt is over
$9 trillion dollars. At the personal level the average American taxpayer carries
a debt load of $48,000 in credit card, and mortgage debts. You do the math. The
numbers are staggering. The economic woes we now face are the result of the life
styles and the fiscal practices which are unacceptable to God.
Analyzing consumerism and consumer practices in light of the word of God reveals
just exactly why our economy will fail. Without guidance from God and obedience
to God Almighty and without deciding to change one’s behavior, the elements of
human greed and ignorance will
do us in. Indeed it is time to pay the bills and fiscal reckoning is now upon
Consider the inherent greed factor built into American’s spending habits.
Consider marketing techniques; consider advertising. Consider the obscene costs
of entertainment and personal pleasure pursuits to which Americans grovel to in
their lust to consume, to pursue; to have. And how do the vast majority of
Americans acquire their desires? Credit; borrowing against their future; taking
equity out of their homes.
Our economic reality reveals America is buried in debt. Americans have spent
beyond their means and we as a nation are over our heads in debt and the bills
are now due. As a result, the markets have reacted and other nations have
withdrawn from cooperating with the U.S. economy.
When people purchase beyond their means, a logical principle, a law of God is
breached; thou shalt not covet. What does covetousness have to do with the
economic malaise we are now in? To a great degree this nation is driven by
greed, by lust and covetousness. One’s abuse of credit cards, overextending
one’s ability to pay in the pursuit of instant satisfaction, in the acquiring of
things, has caught up to America and the bills now need to be paid. But
Americans can’t pay them; it is clearly evident.
delinquencies are putting
an untold drag on the economy. The results of these realities are decreased tax
revenue, decreased profits and job loss; the markets have reacted to the facts.
Covetousness, the desire for that which is not lawfully one’s own, the desire
for that which one can’t afford or be responsible for, is equated with idolatry
(Colossians 3:5). Not only will one’s lust for possessions, for material
fulfillment, for self-gratification result in sin which could very well keep a
person out of the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:5), but it will destroy lives and
ultimately, if practiced by an entire nation will result in economic ruin. When
spending exceeds income, the result will be ruinous.
The Bible clearly defines the characteristics of people who will be alive in the
time of the end, just before the return of Jesus Christ. How similar those
characteristics are to what is prevalent today. People shall love themselves,
filled with ego, self-importance; lovers of money, covetous, without
self-control, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
The pursuit of pleasures can lead to painful results, and is not conducive to
prosperity. Notice the example, the results of a nation whose citizens pursue
their own pleasures and material comforts. “Consider your ways. You have planted
much but you have harvested little. You eat but you never have enough. You drink
but never have your fill. You put on clothes but are not warm. You earn wages,
only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (Haggai 1:5-6).
Jesus Christ warns not only those who follow Him, but every human being, to
“beware of covetousness” (Luke 12:15). He stated a man’s life consisted not in
the abundance of things he possesses. One has to be careful not to build up
treasures on earth while neglecting to be rich toward God. The first way to
build wealth toward God is to obey Him and keep His commandments. When one is
first rich toward God, success, prosperity, and peace of mind will follow. We
see misery in our land, the result of disobedience toward God.
If the national behavior and characteristic of this country were geared around
pleasing and obeying God first, economic collapse would not occur.
The Bible is filled with admonitions, laws and practical guidance, all of which
when followed produces good living, successful lives, happy homes, prosperity and
freedom from anxiety when hard times occur. When God’s laws are broken, the
result is suffering, distress, turmoil, misery and death. When God’s laws of
proper fiscal behavior are broken, the result for the individual or for a nation
will always and only be economic turmoil, distress and ruin, such as we in the
United States of America and the world are only now beginning to see.