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Written by Jim Jordal   
Tuesday, 20 December 2016


By Jim Jordal

 Her princes in the midst of it are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, [and] to destroy souls, that they may get dishonest gain. Her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions, and divining lies to them, saying, Thus says the Lord, when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; yes, they have vexed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the foreigner wrongfully. I sought for a man among them, who should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none.   Ezekiel 22:27-30 WEB

In this Scripture the prophet Ezekiel relates God’s anger with the wayward people of Israel. Beginning with her princes, or political leaders who have shed blood and destroyed souls for dishonest gain, he moves through the prophets, or religious figures that have whitewashed the sins of their leaders by telling them “truths” that did not come from God. Ezekiel concludes his tirade by charging the people of the land with using oppression and robbery to vex the poor and needy as well as foreigners and immigrants.

Brick and stone walls are symbolic in Scripture as the cultural structures and practices that provide protection and safety for the city. Again, Ezekiel speaks for God in the last sentence which sadly relates that when God sought among the people for a leader capable of building up the wall, or in effect causing the people and leaders to repent of their sin in order to save the city from Divine destruction, he found no one. What a tragic statement concerning the inability of God’s chosen leaders to stem the tide of destruction by turning the erring people toward righteousness.

As we enter this New Year we find the walls of the city, or strengths of our great nation, in various states of disrepair or collapse. Political contribution laws are skewed by the rich and powerful so as to force legislators to spend more time raising money than passing legislation. Congress proves its dysfunctionality every day with seemingly no one having control or providing direction. So a great nation staggers from crisis to crisis with no one to take it by the hand and lead it back to justice, truth, mercy, and righteousness.

Some observers tell us that widespread distribution of wealth leads to national strength because everyone has a “chip in the game” and will thus support the government and its policies. Normally, some disparities in wealth are acceptable as just rewards for productive efficiency and good management. But today we are so far from balance in distributed wealth as to be laughable if it were not so damaging. A recent Credit Suisse global wealth report reveals that the top one percent of world population holds 48 percent of world wealth. This imbalance acts as a drag on growth as the richest of the rich fail to invest their billions in job creation, preferring instead the obscene riches of the rightfully- maligned unproductive investment vehicles called derivatives.

Another critical area ripe for a popular awakening is that of how to preserve the so-called “safety-net” provisions first enacted during the critical “First Hundred Days” of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Roosevelt felt deeply the suffering of millions who had lost their jobs, homes, savings, and hope to the forces of depression ravaging the land. Immediate, forceful action was required, and that’s what we got: The WPA and CCC provided jobs; the FDIC insured bank deposits; the Social Security Administration provided retirement for workers. A host of other efforts followed, all aimed at recovery and confidence-building.

Today we need awakening to the reality that certain free-market economists, business persons, and politicians want to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and public education---all in the interests of saving money. In general, they’d like to turn back the clock to the 1920s with unregulated banking and business under predatory “hands off” capitalism. That theory failed then, and it will fail even more disastrously if tried today.

It’s time to awaken, folks, not only to what the powers of wealth have in mind, but also to what Almighty God plans. We’ll look a bit at that in the near future.