Moses' fourth speech, Part 9
Nov 13, 2012
When God revealed His mind to Moses in the law, He showed great concern for the poor of the land. In commanding a release of payments on debt during each Sabbatic year, He ensured that debtors would not be impoverished by the rest years. Then Moses continued in Deuteronomy 15:4 and 5, saying,
4 However, there shall be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.
All of the social programs that modern governments institute are man’s attempts to eradicate poverty. However, man’s way is to steal from the rich and give to the poor. They find such theft necessary because the nation refuses to abide by the laws of God. If the nations would recognize that Jesus Christ is King and abide by His laws, poverty would be eradicated. Moses says, “There shall be no poor among you … if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God.”
God established a system of welfare in the law to assist the poor, and He did so without raising taxes on anyone, including the rich. The biblical tax system (tithes, first fruits, gleanings, etc.) limits the government’s right to tax the people further and yet makes provision out of it to assist the poor. Any other charity work is called an offering. An offering is voluntary, while tithes are mandatory.
God’s system ensures that every family in the Kingdom has a land inheritance, and because the land cannot be taxed, the government cannot confiscate it for nonpayment of taxes. In a worst case scenario, poverty may force a family to sell its land, but such sales are only leases in practice, because the land inheritance always returns to the original owner in the year of Jubilee at the latest.
Thus, even the poor always have a source of income, as long as they are willing to work the land.
Moses says specifically that the eradication of poverty depends upon their willingness as a nation to listen to the voice of God and to obey His laws. But Moses also knew that Israel was a rebellious nation and would refuse to do this. Hence, he says, they will indeed face the problem of poverty. In verse 11, he tells the people,
11 For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, “You shall freely open your hand to our brother, to your needy and poor in your land.”
At first glance, this would appear to contradict verse 4, “there shall be no poor among you.” But when we see that Israel would inevitably fail to follow the law of God, the apparent contradiction is resolved. In Deuteronomy 31:29 Moses says, “For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you.”
This does not necessarily mean that individuals who disobey God’s law will be impoverished. Instead, it means that when the nation (government) refuses to implement the law or to recognize the sovereignty of God, they will institute man’s laws which will impoverish many people. Unjust laws favor the rich at the expense of the poor. This usually happens when the rich write the laws and word them in such a way that the poor do not understand how such laws will keep them in poverty. For instance, Socialism sounds like it helps the poor at the expense of the rich, but in reality it only creates poverty among a broader segment of the population.
Men have been taught to despise God’s law as being austere, when in fact, Socialism eventually leads to austerity. Look at modern Greece and Spain. Their Socialist system now demands austerity by the laws of men. At the end of the day, Socialism meets the brick wall and must choose between austerity and the Jubilee. They must choose between man’s law or God’s law. But even if they choose a Jubilee and cancel all debt, they must implement God’s law, or else they will reach the same dead end in the future.
For anyone who studies current events, it is apparent that God has turned the West from being the world’s creditors to the world’s debtor nations. This is the only real proof that anyone needs in order to know that man’s Socialist system does not bring wealth, but poverty to the majority. Some may attribute this problem to the idea of fiat money instead of “honest money” that is backed by gold or silver, but the problem is deeper than this. Poverty on a national scale is caused by the rejection of the laws of God, even while individual lawless men become wealthy.
Moses continues in Deuteronomy 15:6,
6 For the Lord your God shall bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
America has moved from being the greatest creditor nation to the greatest debtor nation in a single generation. This is a natural consequence of rejecting the rule and law of Jesus Christ. In fact, this is a judgment of the law as confirmed in Deuteronomy 28:43 and 44,
43 The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you shall go down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
This speaks of aliens, or foreigners, who are not compliant to the laws of God but who take advantage of the citizens of the Kingdom. When the people of a Christian nation refuse to comply with the law, they discard the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” They then allow non-Christian foreigners to come and gain citizenship without declaring their allegiance to Jesus Christ and His law. Those foreigners then become voters, and when they are increased, they repeal the laws of God and establish the laws of men or the laws of their own gods.
This is, in part, what happened in America. We felt sorry for all oppressed foreigners and allowed them to immigrate to America as non-believers. Simultaneously, the Church began to discard the law of God as if it were antiquated or oppressive. The result was that we allowed those foreigners to establish the Federal Reserve Bank and to remove Jesus Christ from His position as Creator and King over government, as our Declaration of Independence had established. We soon became a secular nation and then exported “our values” to other nations by economic coercion, bribery of key leaders through “foreign aid,” or by outright military force.
The results are now being seen clearly. We are indebted to other nations, and poverty has greatly increased in the land. When the need increased beyond the ability of charitable organizations to keep up, then government took over the responsibility and authority for welfare, until it too was overwhelmed.
The Church ought to be teaching the laws of God to the people, so that they understand the source of the problem. Huge portions of the Church have “faith without works” (James 2:17). The Church evangelizes people to bring them to a place of faith in Jesus Christ, but they fall short in teaching them about obedience to His commandments. Hence, the problem of lawlessness abounds in the Church today, even as it did in the church in the wilderness under Moses.
Lawlessness brings divine judgment. Judgment brings poverty and oppression until the people repent. This pattern was repeated many times in Scripture in the story of Israel, and little has changed since then. The people still have a heart of rebellion. They still misunderstand many of God’s laws and therefore reject the law and the mind of Christ. In their ignorance, they turn to the laws of men, which can only bring unforeseen consequences, including much poverty.
This is the ninthpart of a series titled "Moses' Fourth Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones