|Tyre's Triumphal Arch (Wikipedia)|
We are in the midst of a lot of global economic changes. We are hearing in the media about what the experts call a "correction." Does the Word of God have anything to say about global economies? Yes, in fact, Isaiah 23 tells us that the Lord uses global economic forces to bring forth His purposes (Isa. 23:10-14)
Isaiah 23 shows that God uses nations, such as the Assyrians, who had just defeated the Babylonians (Isa. 23:12-14), to fulfill His purposes. A century and a half later, God would use the Babylonians would arise and destroy Tyre again (Ezekiel 26-28). Tyre would soon be of no account, Isaiah says (Isa. 23:13; Prov. 16:18). What is the point? Pride that flows from material wealth is futile (Luke 12:13-21).
It was an awesome time of economic growth in our nation. The sectors of our economy were at an all-time peak. Technology and industrial output were roaring. Charles E. Mitchell, chairman of the National City Bank of New York, assured investors, “The industrial situation of the United States is absolutely sound, and our credit situation is in no way critical. The markets generally are now in a healthy condition. I know of nothing wrong with the stock market or with the underlying credit and credit structure.” Two days later, on October 24, 1929, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Many leading economists pronounced the crash “a buying opportunity.” The stock market rallied and slumped over three years after the crash, finally bottoming out in 1933 and dragging on until the US entered World War II. Now we can look back over history and see that economies correct themselves or reset every 70-80 years. Was the Great Recession of 2008-9 just that or are we facing the second a double dip which will mirror the Great Depression?
Charles Stanley in his July 4th message in 2010 tried to prepare his people and listeners for a change coming when, he said, in about 18 months our nation would not be able to make our interest payments on our national debt, and it would change our way of life. Our government staved off that eventuality by doing something no one else can do -- printing more money.
Porter Stansberry has put a lengthy webinar online about a coming financial collapse. Maybe you’ve seen it. While he is selling a product, he has some good information about our economic situation. He predicted the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and General Motors three years before they did. The same accounting they used, he says, has found its way into the US Treasury and threatens to change our way of life. using numbers provided by the Congressional Budget Office) a debt default by the U.S. government would be inevitable – were it not for one simple anomaly... the one thing that has saved the United States so far – our country's unique ability simply to print more money. You see, the U.S. government has one very important weapon to use in this crisis: It is the only debtor in the world who can legally print U.S. dollars. And the U.S. dollar is what's known as "the world's reserve currency." The dollar forms the basis of the world's financial system. It is what banks around the world hold in reserve against their loans. As things stand now, the U.S. government can't go broke in any ordinary sense of the word because it can simply print dollars to pay for its bad debts. (It's been doing so since March of 2009). And our creditors are figuring out what's happening, and they're getting very angry.
We still pay less for gasoline than anyone in the developed world because oil is priced in US dollars. Dollars have been the world currency for decades, but historically when nations become debtors, their currency is devalued, and payment is accepted in new currencies. It couldn’t happen? It did in Great Britain in the 1970s. For nearly 200 years the British sterling was the world’s reserve currency. After World War II, Britain pursued a national socialist agenda, nationalizing corporations. The nation went broke, and the liberal Labour party in 1967, in an effort to help people pay their debts, devalued their currency by 14% overnight, but 14% of everyone’s money evaporated overnight. In 1974, the British government instituted the 3-day week, allowing businesses only 3 days of electricity per week. In 1975 inflation increased 26.9%. The government then froze wages which made strikes rampant. Hospitals were reduced to accepting emergency patients only. Patients had to bring their own food, bedding, and clean towels. Candles were a commodity. Here in the US, the Treasury has flooded the market with more money to pay government debt. The states are suffering because they cannot print money like the Federal government can. Here is the important point: What most people don't realize is that the U.S. government can only continue printing dollars as long as the U.S. dollar remains the world's reserve currency. Could that ever change? It did for the mighty British empire.
According to the global strategic forecasting group, Stratfor.com, “Economically, the next 10 years will mark the beginning of a massive reversal in the dominant trends of the past 500 years. For the entirety of that era, steadily rising populations have set the stage for the economic models used in every part of the world: Larger populations mean larger workforces, larger capital supplies and ultimately larger markets. The entire fabric of human economic relations has been based on the precondition of continually enlarging populations. The 2010-2020 decade will be the turning point in this rule as populations cease rising and rapidly age. This shift is most pronounced in the developed world — with Japan and Europe the most dramatically affected — but it exists in the developing world as well. Turkey, Mexico, China and India are actually aging faster than Europe.
The effects are myriad, but can be separated into two general categories: financial and immigration. Financial: When retirement systems were established in the first half of the 20th century, male life expectancy was 62 years, so the retirement age was set at 65. Now as life expectancy nears 80 years in our society, retirement funding which was never intended to support an average of 15 non-productive years will create severe financial dislocations for individuals and societies. The retirement age cannot remain 65. Coping with this imbalance will consume much political capability in wealthier nations.Immigration: Aging states will be forced to increase immigration from poorer and younger nations to compensate for labor shortages. The United States, due to general social heterogeneity and prior migration, will not experience such steep declines as Europe.
APPLICATION: America has had more light given to her than almost any other nation, apart from Israel. Despite our blessings, we have thumbed our nose at God and let Him know that we do things our way. What God hears constantly are the cries of 55 million aborted children crying out for justice. We have embraced the ethics of Darwin’s deluded doctrine of evolution. This nation has produced more pornography than any other country in the world, enslaving millions in bondage to lust and every type of sexual perversion. We are a nation of covenant breakers who disregard the sanctity of marriage, breaking the vows which came out of our own mouths and emboldening those who claim a new right to gender-free marriages and shame us into accepting their Sodom and Gomorrah lifestyles as normal. We have banned public prayer from our schools and adopted a human-centered, social evolutionist philosophy, and wonder why our sons and daughters are shedding each others’ blood on campuses around the nation.
America’s problem is not economic, but much deeper. We are not financially bankrupt. We are spiritually bankrupt. We did not have a banking collapse. We have a moral collapse. This is not about the problems of real estate. It is about the problems of our spiritual estate. It is not about failure in the housing market but failure in God’s House. We are more interested in being seeker sensitive than Holy Spirit sensitive. We don’t need repentance. We want relevance. We want the message to point us to our own prosperity rather than reveal our own spiritual poverty. We come seeking a blessing when the blessing is found in serving a brother. We think life is all about being happy when it is all about being holy. We want the Word of God made positive and encouraging all the time. We want a K-Love kind of gospel. But we want it prophetic and incisive none of the time. We don’t want it sharper than any two-edged sword. We think we are supposed to come to church to get something good out of it for our lives when we are supposed to come to church to give glory to the Lord of our lives.
Isaiah teaches us that the Lord uses global economic forces to accomplish His purposes, whether in the 9th Century B.C. or today.