Inherit the Earth (1)

Today, I begin a new multi-part series on Christian economics.

It was not necessary that God fill the Promised Land with every conceivable natural resource. It was only necessary that He give them His law and the grace to obey it, which allows men’s creativity to flourish. This creativity is the basis of most economic growth. Raw materials have always been available. What makes them valuable is men’s knowledge of productive, consumer-satisfying things to do with them. What makes them worth searching for and digging up is the income potential provided by other men with other things to exchange. He who has the productive skills that produce the finished products that consumers desire to buy will not lack anything in whatever land God places him, but only for as long as there is freedom.[1]

The Bible is relevant to economics, as it is for every other area of human thought and endeavour. It is not only relevant: it is essential. God gave us the Bible for these reasons: that we might read, study and obey it. We were not given Bibles to serve as ornaments in our churches and homes, or as relics to imply that this is a book to be revered, but essentially ignored.

When men go to God and the Bible with faith, honesty and obedient hearts, God reveals Himself and His glorious plans to them. This has always been how He deals with people. Consider Josiah, the king of Judah from 642-611 B.C.  Josiah became king when eight years old, and the Bible says “in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David (II Chron.34:3).

He began the long term process of tearing down the altars of Baal, getting rid of all the national aspects of paganism that had built up for generations, and began to rebuild the house of God. While work was being done on the house of God, a copy of the law of God was given to Josiah, and Shaphan the scribe read from it in the presence of the king.

The Bible says that “when the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes” (v.19), for he realised how far Judah had departed from God’s Word. Josiah acknowledged that “great is the wrath of the Lord which is poured out on us because our fathers have not observed the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book” (v.21).

What was the outcome? Josiah received a promise from God through a prophetess:

“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord. “Behold, I will gather you to your fathers and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, so your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place and on its inhabitants…” (II Chron.34:27-28).

What God did for humble Josiah, He will do today for His people. Why? Because He is in covenant with them, as he was with Josiah.

But it’s a foolish person indeed, who claims that “that was the Old Testament Andrew, and Josiah lived 2,600 years ago. We’re living under God’s grace now, don’t you know?”

My response to such a comment, is to remind people what the Bible says in the New Testament: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb.13:8). His standards remain the same. Furthermore, where does the Bible ever suggest that God’s grace means we are not obligated to obey His Word? God gives us grace so we CAN obey His Word.

The Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20) show us that God has absolute standards. “Absolute” means they are not negotiable. “Thou shalt not steal,” prohibits theft of any kind. The modern world has rejected this. Today, we say, “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.” So, socialists say, “you rich people have lots of money. We want to take much of it from you and give it to poor people, and we’ll find voters who will go along with us,” and they do.  But as Frederic Bastiat wisely predicted,

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

Then God’s consequences arrive:

The Bible is clear: When the central government collects as much in taxes as God demands in the form of a tithe – 10% – the nation has moved into tyranny. It has moved in the direction of Egypt. The Israelites in Samuel’s era, let it be noted, wanted this change in administration. They wanted a highly centralized State. They voted for it.

 Conclusion: There is no political salvation in democracy if the voters are hell-bent for tyranny…So, the tax ratchet will continue upward. The regulatory system will tighten. If the victims cannot recognize tyranny when they are taxed by it, then they are blind indeed. They need additional experience with tyranny. They will get it.[2]

Economics means how we think about and deal with God’s assets. As Christians we accept that He owns everything. Here is the basic framework for the whole picture:

The Basics of Christian Economics: (based on the Biblical covenant model):

1. God owns everything.
2. Men owe God everything.
3. God establishes the ethical rules of ownership.
4. Profit and loss are the appropriate sanctions.
5. Covenant keepers inherit.[3]

I am deeply indebted to Dr Gary North (www.garynorth.com) for his insights in economics, and these points greatly explain how Christians must prepare to inherit the earth, which Jesus predicted we would (Mat.5:5).

But before then, we’ll have some learning to do. Before then, we’ll have to undergo some pain, because of our ignorance and disobedience, which stretches back centuries. This disobedience and ignorance has contributed to the bad state of the world today.

Are you ready to change?



[1] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.20.

[2] Gary North, “Taxation under the Pharoahs and Today,” 2008.

[3] Gary North, 9/6/2012.

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