Monday, October 25, 2010

God's Transcendent Economy

These are interesting days that we are living in. From an economic perspective, the situation is anywhere from transitional to dire to apocalyptic depending on who you listen to. Whether a politician or pundit is actively fear-mongering or not, there are plenty of things going on that would incite some amount of fear in just about anyone.

I'm reading through the book of Isaiah right now. In the first half of the book God is confronting His people about their sin and then telling them the consequences of that sin. It's not pretty! It's also striking how much their collective, national sin looks like our own:

Leaders decreed iniquitous decrees, and
wrote oppression. (10.1)
They forsook the Lord, and
dealt corruptly. (1:4)
They claimed godliness, but denied its power. (1:11-14)
Righteousness gave way to murder. (1:21)
Their leaders were rebels, friends of thieves,
givers of bribes. (1:23)
They pursued other gods and were idolatrous. (2:6-8)
Culture broke down. (3:4-5)
No one took responsibility. (3:6-7)
The widow and orphan were denied justice. (1:23)

And the list goes on as God declares His covenant lawsuit against Israel. But, amazingly, in the midst of all that awful declaration of sin and judgement, the grace of God shines through, for we also see passages with some of our dearest promises:

"... though your sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow..." (9:18)
"... they shall beat their swords into plowshares..." (2:4)
"... the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (7:14)
"... the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light ... For to us a child is born..." (9:2-7)

Well, that may be an interesting little study, but what in the world does it have to do with the economics of our time? A lot, actually. We live in a day not unlike Israel - things aren't looking so good and it's a scary time to live in. But, right in the middle of all that God shows up and gives hope and sustenance to His people.

In Isaiah 7: 20-25, right smack dab in the middle of a declaration of how bad it's going to be, we have a seemingly out-of-place passage:

"In that day a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, and because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey."

Whatever the outcome of next week's election, whatever the path our government and economy takes, God has given hope and promise to His people. It doesn't mean Easy Street, but it does mean that we are His beloved children and He will make a way for us, He will provide for all our needs - right in the middle of it all.