Morality precedes Economy
In 1980 the Ronald Reagan campaigned on turning around the American economy. In the campaign for the Presidency, in 1993, Bill Clinton kept a sign behind his desk that read “It’s the Economy Stupid”. This was to remind him and his staff that the only thing Americans really care about is money and if they would keep the focus of the campaign on the economy they would win; and they did. We are now in 2012, it has been 32 years since President Reagan and 20 years since President Clinton and the economy is still a mess. Many would say it is worse than ever. With all of the focus on the economy why doesn’t anything get better? The reason is simple it not the economy stupid, it’s morality.
Seeking to fix the economy directly is like a doctor treating pneumonia with cough medicine. The problem isn’t a cough, it is much deeper. You may be able to make the symptoms go away for a while but the problem is likely to continue to grow. A sick economy is a symptom of a much deeper illness.
It’s morality stupid! A sick economy is one of the symptoms of a nation that has deteriorated morally. A key theme throughout the Old Testament is if a nation will follow God and His laws they will experience blessings. If they fail to follow God and His laws they will suffer. This message is communicated over and over by the prophets of God. The clearest declaration of these principles appears in Deuteronomy chapters 27 and 28. The setting is, the Children of Israel are about to enter the Promised Land. Moses has just finished reviewing the Laws of God in preparation for them settling into the new land and establishing the nation of Israel. At the end of the review of the Law, Moses gives concluding remarks of blessings and cursing. In a nutshell he says if the Children of Israel will obey all of God’s laws they will experience blessings and if they turn away from God and disobey His laws they will experience cursing. Read the chapters for yourself. You will be surprised at how well they reflect our experiences in America.
Many Christians want to say that the Old Testament Law applies to Israel and not to us, or that the Old Testament Law doesn’t apply to us because we are under New Testament grace. The basic principles of the Law and morality apply to all peoples. If you read the rest of the Bible you will find that many prophets were sent to other countries surrounding Israel. They gave messages calling the nations to repentance and to return to morality; often very similar to the messages delivered to Israel. Repent and experience blessing or continue on your path of immoral living and experience God’s judgment. Often the message included judgment on a nation for mistreating Israel. They were also criticized for their arrogance and refusal to acknowledge God as supreme.
Another mistake Christians often make is to create two classes of people when it comes to morality. There are the Christians who are to live moral lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and there are the unbelievers who are not to be held to any standard because they are lost and cannot be expected to live moral lives. The Bible calls all men to live moral lives and it holds us responsible for calling people to repentance. We function as a nation and as a nation we will experience God’s blessing or cursing.
A third mistake that many Christians make is to focus on specific sins. Our favorites are abortion and homosexuality. These are serious sins and must be dealt with, but I think we like to point out these sins because they are often someone else’s sin. We don’t like to deal with some of the main themes of the prophets; themes like pride and arrogance, failure to acknowledge and worship God, violence, injustice, and the rich taking advantage of the poor, the fatherless and widows. There is enough sin and blame to go around and there is plenty of opportunity for repentance.
The proclamation of the prophets is simple, countries which ignore God and his laws and live immoral lifestyles will experience God’s judgment. That judgment will be felt in a number of ways. There will be economic hardship, the people will work hard and have little to show for it. The national standing will drop in the eyes of the world. The nation will move from being a leader to being a follower. The nation will acquire debt; they will change from a lender to a borrower. The land will suffer, there will be ecological deterioration. The nation will be attacked from the outside.
2 Chronicles 7:14
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and land.
It’s Morality Stupid! Morality precedes economy. We can spend forever trying to fix the economy but it is futile. Fix morality and the rest will take care of itself.