Clay Center, Kansas – When a nation is prosperous, it is a test of its character. What will it do with its abundance? Will the rich take advantage of the poor and the government expand its size and reach? Or will a nation honor God with its blessings, where the people share with one another and the government is just and impartial no matter if one is rich or poor?
The people of Israel were given much by the Lord God in their history, and at one point in their prosperity, they forgot God and turned from Him. The cries of the oppressed reached His ears and God spoke to the nation through His prophet Amos, “Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances . . .?’” (Amos 8:5)
In ancient times, money was based on weight, so scales were essential. Ephah was a unit of dry measurement (like wheat) and a shekel was a form of weight to determine the value of what was measured out and weighed. Merchants were deceptively making the ephah smaller than it should have been, and the shekel heavier. This was stealing through fraudulent means.
Who were most often the victims of this financial scheme? The poor and needy. What did God think about this practice? “Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.” (Proverbs 20:10) Abomination is something that God absolutely detests which stirs up His holy anger. Knowing this, why would the people of Israel, whom Amos addressed, continue in this crime before God? Greed and power. It blinded them from any sense of right and wrong. They were so taken by the abundance of their nation, and the potential to enrich themselves, that they wanted to hurry through the religious meetings, and get on with their lawless business dealings.
In America, we do not use weights and scales, but paper bills that are assigned a value by the government. When our nation prints and prints more bills which get circulated into our monetary system, it is like making the shekel great, when it really is not. It causes the dollar to lose value, and more dollars are needed to buy the same amount of goods or services that it previously did. It is a deceptive financial system that is not honored by God.
In times like these, the lower and middle class suffer the most, while also impacting the entire nation. A wealthy country can financially collapse in a short period due to the sinful financial practices of their leaders. Despite details being hidden and complicated, they are seen and understood by God and invite His judgment.
Even though a small percent of people can enrich and empower themselves through fraudulent means like this, it can lead to unrest in the larger country with increased poverty, business closings, division, tension, protests, famine and more. It is an unjust circumstance that often is man-made and preventable if a nation would turn from their greed and follow the ways of God.
Jesus died and rose again that the sin of greed would no longer have power over us. Through Christ, things can change. With Him nothing is impossible! Let us pray that our leaders would be protected from the temptation toward greed and a lust for power. Let us pray they would make godly financial decisions. Let us look around and share what we have with those in need, no matter if it is little or much.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, as we go through this time of inflation, I pray our leaders would follow your ways in how our nation manages its money. I pray for the poor and needy who are struggling. Let them trust in you for their provision. Humble our country in this season of financial burden, and let this be a time of turning toward you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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