It is only $$ — Leviticus Economic Policy

Leviticus 25 begins with the Sabbath. Then moves into the year following 7 groups of agricultural’s 7-year cycle (the 50th year) letting the land rest and enacting profound social changes.

Leviticus 25

A year of jubilee!

יוֹבֵל.  A Hebrew word pronounced: Yobel.  A wind instrument— a ram’s horn— is used to ‘wind’ this note.  A “Triumphant Blast” = a “JUBILEE!”  And a WHOLE YEAR of JUBILATION!!!  (Imagine Whoville at Christmas Whobilation. Thanks to Dr. Suess.)

A year of celebration in signifying the lifting of socio-economic inequalities.  God wanted to call attention to how we are to be in company with each other.

Why mention jubilation during a pandemic when people are so afflicted?  Radical ideas are needed in these times.  Could it be time for a complete forgiveness of all debt and a reconciling of all pay scales, including benefits?  I believe God thinks this way of doing business is advantageous for our society in general, pandemic or not.

Usury, or using credit, a fundamental principle, of Western Financial Philosophy, displeases God.  After all it is only money we are talking about — not physical well being, moral compass, education, training.  Yet, the is exactly what we are talking about: the play of money’s movement through society directly rubs shoulders with training, education, morals, and the physical and mental health of the human race.

Money is a tool and can be used for differing purposes.  If, as a nation, we can ‘borrow’ money — ‘borrow’ meaning to print more money in order to expand the government’s bank account — for any reason.

By the way, a country goes further into debt when a government creates cash simply by printing more cash.  The reality is ________?  I am undecided, although current monetary theory teaches us to increase a government’s debt does not matter.  For example: print an extra $100 million and only pay $10 thousand a month in interest seems like a good deal, and fortunately, it is a decent deal.  Yet we continue to fork-out interest.  And there is a moral nagging that if you have borrowed something it should be returned.  The U.S. does not seem to want to return “it”.  We can go further into debt to bail out a Wall Street debt crisis but not the people who were thrown out of their homes; or borrow to make sure Airlines have money during a downturn, but not cities, counties, states, hospitals, etc.  We can give money to the people who have the most wealth but not create cash to feed the 1-in-6 Americans who do not know where their next meal will come from, or see to medical care, decent housing, and benefits other workers have.

Come to think of it:  If we simply print more bills do we actually go into debt?  Or not?  

The wealth between blacks and whites is 1 to 10 — $17,000 a year compared to $170,000 (https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2018/02/21/447051/systematic-inequality/).  An in-depth investigation of wealth/health/morality issues is not for this post, but one major example is funding for public schools.  The conditions in our inner cities easily show why more State and Federal dollars should be allotted to city schools but instead go to the suburban schools where the tax base is more than adequate to fitfully finance well-rounded schools.

Usury, a fundamental principle of Western Financial Philosophy, displeases God.  After all it is only money we are talking about — not physical well being, moral compass, education, training — OR IS IT ?

In this time of sheltering from Coronavirus where workers are furrowed and businesses are closed — the fundamental values in the Year of Jubilee are appropriate for the world’s situation and should be considered to help remedy the financial realization as we, all of us, are stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

The Year of Jubilee pushes humanity to face itself, to restore a culture, from God’s perspective, gone out of whack.

The rich who want to “get ahead” are brought to face their selfish motives.  And, conversely, those who squander their resources to the extreme of selling themselves to slavery to pay their debts, are reconciled as well.

I am convinced hard times brought on by misfortune — accidents, disease, downturns in the economy (causing layoffs) — should not extract a toll from the afflicted.

Now, back to the ‘Leviticus’ future.

A few passages will sufficiently characterize my conceptions in this post:

(37) . . . You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.  I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt . . .

(40)  . . .[Fellow Israelites who sold themselves] are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee.  Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans . . .

 

Our modern mode of operation is the profit motive.  Money first at all costs!  (Pun intended).  A distant second are people, environment, animals.

People matter more than money.

I have to admit some fictional societies have influenced my thoughts about money.  Star Trek, in portraying several hundred years into the future, features a society that eliminated the use of money, replacing the drive for financial pursuit with bettering oneself and humanity in general.

But as a Christian, what about the thought of my relationship with God as the sole proprietor of my time and talents has appeal, vs. a boss telling me when and where to spend my time.  

What if you could pursue an ability, understanding, or see another culture without worry of defaulting on your rent?

If God wants us to be this way towards each other maybe we can find support for the principle in other Scriptures:
Selfish ambition as a motivation, Phil. 2:3;
How you treat yourself is how to be towards others, Luke 6:31;
Carry no worldly “stains”, James 1:27;
Manna was given for a single day even though some gathered more and some gathered less; Exodus 16:17-18 (and following).

Manna was provided directly to Israel, overnight delivery of course (how about it online retailers), for nourishment, and could be prepared by boiling (think of rice, oatmeal, or quinoa) or by baking (bread, ‘cake’, crackers).  Some Israelites gathered more than needed for the day and the extra was unusable the next morning.  Conversely, Israelites without enough food for the day ended up with the amount they needed.  Awesome God!!!

Three Social Strata

We have become accustomed to social strata.  When human beings first began to organize we formed 3-social strata: the privileged upper class; the very low-paid, slaves or under class; and the in-between middle class, and that has never changed.  The organizers placed themselves and their buddies in the top layer . . . go figure.  But:

Are any of us NOT equal in God’s sight?

Should the monetary system be the only social system in the world when every society and tribe throughout history did not begin with many slaves?

Downsides?

Sure — if nothing else money is a ‘reward system’ for the time and effort put forth.  

Eliminating the use of money will not eliminate evil.  Timothy’s illumination of money as a root of many evils (1 Tim 6:10) will not end non-monetary issues such as gluttony, coveting, or power seeking.  Humans will still have to work on their character, viewpoints, and emotions.  But, a bank account will not be the focus of our well-being or our character.

“And start your slaving job to get your pay”

You know, “Taking Care of Business” (Bachman Turner Overdrive).  Yes, I’m an ‘Oldie’ (who used to play the guitar part).  We all need to work; besides the reward of a paycheck, working keeps our mind busy, gives purpose, exercises our bodies.

*************  I’m Stopping here  ************* I have more to say on this topic but will not add it to this essay.  

Author: myasceticnotebook

Hi, I'm Jeff. Husband, Father, Christian musician. Free-thinker in Christ.

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