Need a Bailout?

Posted on March 7, 2009 · Posted in Culture, Current Events, Worldview

These days everyone is talking about bailouts. Whether on
the economic or social front, things seem to be falling apart. Whether you are
catching the headlines on Drudge, or the details on Fox News, or USA Today, the
message is all the same. There is no way out without a bailout. As you watch,
read or listen to the experts in these amazing times, the most important factor
is always missing from the analysis and reporting. Talk show monologues,
no-spin comments, and the latest from the financial markets—all have a message
of catastrophe. But no one talks about the One who controls it all. While man
panics, God works his plan. There is a message to be heeded in these troubled
days. God is the Lord of all the earth. God is Sovereign over the marketplace.
He is the King of governments. That is the message of the Bible, but it is not
the message of the world and its news media. It is not the message of our
governments. But even so, it is the message of Scripture, the only reliable
source of truth. What does God say?

 "Be still, and
know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth."

 The LORD Almighty is
with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.  —Psalm 46:10-11

This message was not intended only for Israelites of 3,000
years ago. It is a timeless message that is also for today. Here is the
question – is this your message, or are you too looking for a bailout? God
promises that his Word will provide a way out of every temptation. He says that
his promises provide everything that is needed for life and godliness. God was
not caught by surprise, as our government leaders appear to have been, by the
rapid change in the global economy. He has planned all things for the good of
his people. Psalm 46 gives the reason for your stability in troubled times:

 1 God is
our refuge and strength,
       an ever-present help in trouble.

 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the
earth give way
       and the mountains fall into the heart of
the sea, …

There is trouble, to be sure. But God is our strength and
refuge. Remember, he is not merely an observer in these tumultuous times.
Rather, the instability that is all around you is meant to point you toward the
One who is stable, the only one who can be trusted for wisdom that is always
reliable. I am reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis. In answer to the question
if Aslan [the lion] is safe, the  answer
is, "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'
" The earth, the financial markets, may give way and fall into the sea.
That certainly does not appear to be safe. But what is certain is that God is
your refuge and strength. God is good.

Parents, your children hear of all the uncertainty. They
hear the sound bites. They see worried teachers and folks at church. They may
be troubled in ways that are less than obvious. The best thing you can do for
your children is not to seek a bailout, but to turn to God as your refuge and
strength. He is your help in trouble. Our culture has ignored Paul’s warning to
Timothy, not to hope in wealth because it is uncertain. Perhaps because of
advances in technology people have come to think of wealth as something that
can be managed and made secure. Financial analysts use sophisticated computer
models and forecasting programs to attempt to anticipate any eventual outcome.
But for all of our sophistication, wealth is no more certain today than it was
2,000 years ago, when Paul wrote to Timothy. (I Timothy 6:17-19) Wealth is no
more certain than life itself. Just as you cannot guarantee that you will be
here tomorrow, you cannot guarantee that your money will be here tomorrow.
Economic forecasters have ignored what James has to say about business
transactions:

Now listen, you who say,
"Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there,
carry on business and make money."Why, you do not even know what will
happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little
while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's
will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All
such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

Think about the Holy Spirit’s declaration that financial
forecasting, business planning, personal estate planning, stock portfolio and
401K management—without acknowledging that these things work only if God wills
them to happen—is evil. That’s right, evil. Attempting to be prudent with
finances, without acknowledging that nothing will happen without God’s
approval, is foolish and evil. There are many reasons that may be given for the
current financial mess. But the most important reason is missing. People may
think they have been wise about finances, but they have been foolish about God.
Christians must have the courage to analyze the current financial crisis in
light of the truth of the Holy Spirit’s words in James. Modern culture attempts
to live as if God does not exist. Unborn babies are slaughtered. Marriage
between a man and a woman is said to be discriminatory and bigoted. Finances
are thought to have nothing to do with God. Government must ignore God.
Yes, modern culture has boasted and bragged. And now God has called its bluff.
It is not time for a bailout – it is time for repentance and humility.

God has told us what happens when
men become arrogant. God is a gracious God. And now He is graciously calling
the world to turn to him in brokenness and repentance. You have a powerful
message to give to your children, your church, and your community. No one in
the media is bringing this message, but the church must do so. We must put
aside thoughts of financial rescue and earthly wealth, and look for riches that
are true riches. We must become rich toward God. It is time to answer the
question, "Where is your treasure?"

This article is one that I wrote for the Shepherd Press
Newsletter.  I am posting it in the blog
for two reasons.

First – I strongly believe that we must see these uncertain
times as a call to turn to God in humility. 
Our current financial woes are not a random event.

Second – I want to bring to your attention a new emphasis in
the Shepherd Press Newsletter. Each week I will be writing an article in the
newsletter about what the Bible has to say about some aspect of current events.
The newsletter article will have a different focus from the blog as it will reflect
primarily on what is happening in our world. There will always be an
application about how these events impact your family. If you have not
subscribed to our newsletter, you may do so here.

Thanks again for your continued support of the blog. I hope
that the newsletter articles will be a blessing to you.

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