Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The National Debt - Stop the Bleeding

It now stands at a nearly incomprehensible 12.1 trillion dollars, a figure that even people who know figures and enjoy figuring can’t fully figure out. It is no secret that America’s indebtedness is spiraling out of control and may already be at the point of no return. The present numbers are so staggering that even Congress ‘seems’ to know there is a problem. Now that is progress!

It finally ‘seems’ that so-called bipartisan support is growing in Congress for some sort of serious action to stabilize the nation's exploding debt – a figure estimated to reach 20 trillion in the next decade if something extreme is not done and done soon.

Influential experts from former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan to former Comptroller General David Walker have joined the cause, recognizing the threat that could well cripple the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth. Some economists even foresee a day when the once honored American dollar is worth little and perhaps even rejected on the world market as a respectable form of currency.

At present the public debt, the amount owed to individual investors including foreign countries, stands at a massive $7.6 trillion this year alone. That is more than half the size of the nation's entire economy! Greenspan said of the dilemma, "The challenge to contain this threat is more urgent than at any time in our history. Our nation has never before had to confront so formidable a fiscal crisis as is now visible just over the horizon."

It has been said that, “Money makes the world go around,” and in many ways it does. Money is the key to material and physical well-being and for the many necessities of life. It is linked to any nation’s overall stability and military security. But economic success and prosperity without spiritual sensitivity and interaction is incomplete. Example one is the U.S.A. itself. The world’s most blessed, advanced, and powerful nation has fallen from great prosperity into great financial debt and constant economic struggle in seemingly the blink of an eye.

Although the factors of decline are complicated even to the experts, at the core is a simple factor that so very few see or understand or care to. The issue is in large part a spiritual one. The little, and rarely read, Old Testament book of Haggai points to what can happen to a prosperous people who give God no credit for His blessings and who spend the bulk of their time an assets satisfying only themselves.

Chapter one begins with God’s reprimand of His people through the prophet's words; "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.' " Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts:"Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house." (Haggai 1:2-9)

God also offered a similar strong warning of failure but with a corresponding promise of blessing through the prophet Malachi in chapter three. He begins in verse 8 with a probing question – one that should have awakened and humbled His people. "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,"Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:8-11)

When any nation focuses on their own homes and place of God’s house, on their own assets rather than God’s word and will, problems will come. When people turn to fragile markets at the expense of a their faith, the results will eventually be economical chaos and internal collapse. But when any nation places their faith, their finances and their future in the hands of God they can expect His promise of great success and bounty. When America gets to the point that they understand and apply the wisdom of James in his New Testament letter, then and only then will her people know real and lasting peace and blessing of prosperity.

“Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit "; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say,"If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17)

Bill Breckenridge

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