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(#48) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:26-Corrupt Commerce

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:26: “The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”

It is bad business to withhold products that are needed. “Buy low and sell high” may be popular in the Stock Market, but in the marketplace, it loses future business! Companies, or individuals, who buy up needed products in “bad” times, in order to sell them at higher prices during “harder” times, not only incur the wrath of customers, but also the curse of God, Himself. In condemning corrupted Israel, God gave Amos a vision for those “who swallow up the needy, And make the poor of the land fail, Saying: ‘When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, Falsifying the scales by deceit, That we may buy the poor for silver, And the needy for a pair of sandals-Even sell the bad wheat?’” (Amos 8:4-6). “Swallowing up the needy,” and “making the poor fail” describe business and/or governmental practices that slant economics away from hard work being rewarded with honest pay and profit. Those evil practices included: cutting product sizes with short scales, while increasing the price of the goods sold; making the “poor” go into such debt they are bought for “silver;” reducing them down to such need their price is the same as shoes; and selling them damaged goods! Today, this would be called “re-packaging,” “inflation,” “over-extended credit buying,” “depression economy,” and “selling expired goods.”

When the Israelites were returned to their Promised Land, fulfilling all prophecies on that subject, the “nobles’ and rulers’” practices were listed as: “For there were those who said, ‘We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.’ There were also some who said, ‘We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.’ There were also those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards’” (Nehemiah 5:2-5). When the leaders of a people, whether business or government, adopt practices or legislation that take unfair advantage of the hard-working families under their care, God will hold them accountable. James wrote: “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (James 5:4). Jesus Christ endorsed truth with: “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7); “he who reaps receives wages” (John 4:36); and Paul added to this with: “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Romans 4:4). Wages are earned, not given, and everything that is done to keep honest work from being rewarded with honest wages is against God’s Will!

Another proverb upholds this teaching: Proverbs 30:14: “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #business, #corporation, #depression, #earned, #economy, #fraud, #government, #hard-times, #harder-times, #inflation, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #slavery, #tax, #wages

Will it be a single dip or a…

Will it be a single dip or a double-dip? I’m not talking about ice- cream, I’m talking about our economy. We are struggling to survive one of the worst recessions our nation has ever experienced. It is a time that begs for compassion and sympathy for those who suffer most, especially among those who have been affected least. Yet, while families lose their jobs and homes and are left on the street, corporate fat-cat executives, some of whom were bailed out by tax-payer money, vote themselves huge year-end bonuses while frolicking at opulent resorts on corporate expense. “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” I have an idea that the hottest and deepest level of hell is reserved for these avaricious self-indulgent pompous ingrates. This is Just-A-Minute

#economy, #greed, #just-a-minute

Huge Cultural Shift

The Wall Street Journal reports some startling new data on the job situation in America.

Stephen Moore writes:

More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

This is an enormous shift in the mindset of Americans. As preachers, teachers and students of God’s Word, we need to examine any large cultural shift and consider how it may impact the Lord’s work. As an agrarian lifestyle becomes a distant memory, some of the parables of Scripture become foreign concepts.

Of course, as governments continue to grow, bureaucracy explodes so institutions ensure their own relevance. What impact will that have on the Lord’s church? The more we ask and answer these questions, the better prepared we will be for the future.

#church, #economy, #trends

Economics lesson? – JAM

The economy is in a mess and the government has spent a lot of money called “a stimulus package”. Most of us haven’t enjoyed much stimulation, but Northwestern University surely got a boost. They received ¾ of a million dollars for a project they called: “Computational Creativity”. It involves teaching a computer to tell jokes. This is number 36 on a list of 100 most wasteful federally funded stimulus projects recently published. I’m not surprised at such because it has been going on for decades no matter which party holds the reins. This country was born by statesmen, men who put citizen’s needs first; now it is run by politicians and its every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost! Statesmen respect God; politicians respect re-election. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#economy, #jokes, #just-a-minute

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his …

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”

Mark Twain

#banker, #economy, #money

Salvation and the Economy

I would like your thoughts on a comment someone made to me. They said, basically, “since the economy has nothing to do with our salvation, why give it any thought?”

What is your response? Also, looking at the bigger picture, what effect does a bad economy have on the Church and evangelism?

#economy, #evangelism, #salvation

Church budgets down

I read this today from 21st Century Christian’s Teacher’s Digest.

Economy Affects Churches — A January 2010 George Barna poll indicates that many churches (across denominational lines) have been adversely affected by the poor economy. While some churches have been able to thrive in spite of the economy, the overall trend is down. On average, church budgets are down 7% from the previous year. The typical “down” church was forced to cut its budget by 14%. The number of adults in attendance affected the degree of lost income. Churches with 100 adults or less had an average budget drop of 16%. Those with 100 – 250 adults were off by 13%. Those with 251 – 999 adults in attendance were down 11%. Churches with adult attendance of 1000 or more were off by 9%.

It would be interesting to see research on how churches are cutting their budgets, what approaches they take, if they cut across the board (who believes that?) or if certain areas or ministries are first on the cutting block.

#church-budgets, #economy

How to Survive in Difficult Financial Times

The economic horizon is always filled with foreboding storm clouds in our age. National and personal debt are destroying  lives. People cannot find work  and watch as their savings disappear. However, Washington somehow seems to be making it worse. What can we do to protect ourselves? I hope you will read, Surviving the Crushing Economy and comment. Thank you to my readers.

#debt, #economy, #faith, #savings, #unemployment