As election season approaches one common (and maybe the most common) political issue for Christians is abortion (see Pastor Chester’s post from yesterday). In most elections this seems to be the deciding factor for every elected official. Abortion is sin. Killing people and placing it under the banner of “Women’s right” or “Family planning” is calling dark light.
Still the levels of injustice seen in other areas of government are cause for GREAT concern. Currently the US prints money on demand. The effect of our continuous printing devalues our currency. The more money flooding the market, the less that money is worth. (Now, continuing to do this will make China’s hold on our debts, less powerful, but it will hurt the American people).
Why did gas prices raise five years ago? Answer: The value of the dollar. Gas is traded internationally with the dollar. As inflation rises and the dollar devalues, gas prices go up. For the rich man this hits the pocket book, but does not hurt the pocket book as much. For the poor family, on a tight budget, this devastates the penny purse. How? Because devaluing the dollar, means poor families have to spend more to buy simple products that used to be cheap (remember when heads of lettuce and milk shot up in price?)
Now, is God concerned with a nation and individual’s economic / trade practices? Yes. Four proverbs give us insight into the Lord’s view on economics:
- A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1).
- A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; All the weights of the bag are His concern. It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness. (Proverbs 16:10-11)
- Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the LORD. (Proverbs 20:10)
- Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD, And a false scale is not good. (Proverbs 20:23)
God wants nations and people to deal fairly with everyone. He wants our business and economic scales to be true. A false weight is a lie. It is pure evil to lie in a business deal for our profit or another’s demise. When we say a pound of coffee cost $12.00, it needs to weigh one pound, not less (or more). It is an abomination to differ criteria for different people. (Now, this doesn’t mean it’s sin to have price breaks based on volume, as long as those are assessable to everyone). The Lord detests when a person deals one way with one person, then changes the criteria and standards for another. So, when we begin to change the weight of currency, so that it does not reflect what it truly is, then we begin to change the scales, they are differing weights.
Proverbs 16:11-12 is quoted together because there is a relationship between those verses. The Lord desires just balances. Who often controls economic policy and rules? Government. The king needs to maintain justice when dealing in economics. The Lord says it is an abomination for a king to commit wicked acts (vs 12). What are the wicked acts? In context, a “just balance and scales.” So, it is not just that me, a business owner deal rightfully with everyone, but that the government promote righteous economic policy (this includes our currency).
He wants our economic practices to be just. When we deal fairly with people, the Lord is honored. But when we begin to alter our trade practices, then we dishonor the Lord. “An abomination” is a strong word. The Lord isn’t slightly annoyed, He is greatly displeased and finds unfair economic business an absolute abomination. The nation’s monetary policies and continuous inflation are an abomination because they tip and altar the scales. Money not worth the paper it’s printed on is a lie. They are wicked as defined by Scripture. And, most importantly, devalued currency hurts the poor worst. God cares for the poor and tells nations to protect the poor.
Consider God’s warning to His nation Israel. God indicts His nation and their treatment of the poor based on their economic practices!
“Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine. For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes and turn aside the poor in the gate.” (Amos 5:11-12)
God indicts Israel for imposing heavy rent on the poor. He defines them as those who turn aside the poor in the gate! Their treatment of the poor was not isolated enough to consider a mistake. Rather their treatment of the poor defined them as unrighteous and left them in the path of God’s judgment. Now, we may have section 8 housing to help the poor. But why do they need help? If their currency cannot pay their bills, then of course they need help. But, if the dollar’s value remained consistent, then budgeting and buying is easier. By altering the dollar’s value, we altar the weights and balances. (Of course, this may be by plan, what’s the best way to stay in power? Have people rely on you. This is another sin from political leaders).
Amos addresses Israel, “Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end.” (Amos 8:4). Again he defines them as those who trample on the needy and bring the poor. How did Israel trample the poor? They took advantage of them, “deal deceitfully with false balances, that we (Israel) may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals.” (Amos 8:5-6). The inability for the poor to provide allowed the state to enslave them. It’s not racial slavery, but economic slavery.
Poor people were not given a fair trade for their products. False balances were used to determine their wages. Israel devalued their currency and hurt the poor. By altering the balances, Israelite elites were able to pay less for more products. The poor did the same amount of work, received less money. Those in power employed this tactic happen to get more rich from this practice.
The Lord says, “Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights? For the rich men of the city are full of violence” (Micah 6:11-12). Every indication exists to claim false balances helped the rich and hurt the poor. A false balance allows uneven trade. A devaluing currency therefore altars the balance.
“A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress” (Hos 12:7). False balances and oppression go hand in hand. They serve in the same family of sin united like husband and wife. Setting up a financial system that devalues cash hurts the poor and helps those in power (banks and politicians). Those in power have a great responsibility to maintain and advocate fair balances. Inflating the dollar and devaluing it, leaves the poor at the mercy of his or her lords! It is sin and unrighteous. We must demand from our government fair, righteous policies to protect our currency values!
This probably explains why so many politicians cry, “help the poor.” Because they can look like they care while at the same time enslaving them. If they do not bring value to our cash, they are not helping the poor. Can we just raise wages? Yes, of course, but if we need $15 to buy a head of lettuce, then we haven’t helped anyone out, have we? If we inflate currency to where we need $150 for groceries a week to live on and five years ago we could buy the same for $80, then are we really helping?
But don’t those in power also suffer when they devalue currency? At one level, yes. But because they make the rules and direct where the currency goes, they wield the power and control the market. Those not in power have little influence where money printed on demand is spent. This too directs the influence and trade market. Those in power direct and change currency values, leaving followers at their whims. A just ruler needs to consider a market fair for everyone in order to protect every financial class in America. A just ruler needs to consider the balances and weights so the poor person’s currency has maximum value.
Are our money practices a concern for the Lord? “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,But a just weight is His delight” (Proverbs 11:1). Should we consider it when dealing with politics? Should we make sure our business reflects the Lord’s desired integrity? I report, you decide.