The passage of the banking bailout is profoundly troubling. When men play God, their plans soon go awry and other men suffer. And when men manipulate a fiat currency, they declare that they can change the standards of measure without reference to any higher authority or any stable measure of value. They imply that they themselves are the standard of value. That is playing God.
The God who rules from on high will not be mocked. I think this will turn out badly. However, that is not the end of the story.
Ancient Israel was destroyed by God in response to Israel’s perversion of His law, particularly for oppressing the poor economically and judicially (see Amos). Judah, the southern kingdom was sent into exile for oppressing widows and orphans. It looked like the end for them. But the prophets never said so. Wherever they predicted death, they also predicted resurrection for those who would devote themselves to God anew. The judgments were designed to remove oppressors and to promote those who served God to wider influence.
Consider Daniel and his three friends. They were torn from their families, displaced from their homes, shoved into a rehabilitation program designed to produce good little Babylonian yes-men. But, drawing on the pastoral training of Ezekiel, they refused to despair. They dared to look to God as a deliverer, even as they knew Him to be the avenger of wrongs. They purposed to follow Him, come what might, and to throw themselves on His mercy rather than on Nebuchadnezzar’s. Essentially, they determined to be on the right side of God’s vengeance the next time.
God did become their protector, and more. He became their promoter. Though they had been princes in little, backwater Judah, God promoted them in exile to the highest influence and direct authority in the greatest power of their time. Death and resurrection. A purge and then promotion.
I don’t pretend to know how this will work out precisely for us in this situation. But I do know that the response of the faithful will look something like Daniel. We should not hope in the banking bailout; neither should we despair as it produces more oppression. We should imitate Daniel and his friends.
What did they do?
1. They confessed the sins of their nation, acknowledging God’s justice in judging those transgressions.
2. They asked for God’s mercy, not because of any righteousness in Judah, but because Judah represented God to the nations and Judah’s demise would bring God’s reputation into question among the heathen.
3. They purposed to follow God regardless of men’s demands, determining that they would rather fall into the hand of God than into the hand of man.
4. They hoped in God’s deliverance, and depended on His goodness. But they did not expect an easy time.
5. They looked for opportunities to serve God and to spread His rule to those among whom they found themselves.
All this we can do in our situation. Despite the assumption by the Federal Reserve and other economic bigwigs that they are in control, we must depend on the One who owns every asset in the universe.
My favorite commentary on Daniel: Handwriting on the Wall by James B. Jordan. It's inspiring, encouraging, practical, and soul-searching. Available at Biblical Horizons or American Vision.