EU and US Money Can't Buy World's Love And Security (7.22.10)
One always feels a bit of disgust for folks who try to buy friends. How could such a relationship be blessed or last (save for the money) when it's really a type of prostitution?
The bible prophets tell us this is true at the world and nation-state level as well.
For example, in the one hundred and seventy five years before the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 586BC Israel frantically tried to buy military friends: first Assyria (2Kings 15,17-22 in 740Bc and 738BC and, 2Kings16,8, when King of Ahaz of Judah bribed the Assyrian Tiglathpilser); then Egypt; and finally Babylon.
By doing this Israel was committing adultery-prostitution, and as such, giving away her people's life-substance instead of depending totally on Him. Instead, she became like the idolatrous nations she was aiming to please:
"If you do not take your stand on me, you will not stand." (Isaiah 7,9) Well she didn't stand on the Lord, and the nation was exiled to Babylon in 586BC and the Temple was destroyed.
Ezekiel's language is particularly colorful about Israel buying friends (16,30-35):
"How sick was your heart [the nation's heart]- declares the Lord God- when you did all those things, the acts of a self willed whore, building your eminence at every crosroad [native rituals] and setting your mound in every sqaure! Yet you were not like a prostitute, for you spurned fees; you were like the adulterous wife who welcomes strangers instead of her husband. Gifts are made to all prostitutes, but you made a gift to all your lovers, and bribed them to come to you from every quarter for your harlotries. You were the opposite of other women: you solicited instead of being solicited; you paid fees instead of being paid fees." (Jewish Publication Society, Oxford, 2004)
What Were the Costs of Israel's Trying to Buy Friends?
1. It wasted the people's substance, it poured out their "blood" so to speak.
Ezekiel 16,35-37: Now, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord. Thus said the Lord God: Because of your brazen effrontery, offering your nakedness to your lovers for harlotry- just like the blood of your children [blood is the life substance of the people], which you gave to all your abominable fetishes [idols].
When we make an idol out of military and economic security, or anything, we give away our very life-substance, symbolized by our blood.
2. The 'friends" turned on Israel and God allows it for their lack of faith.
Ezekiel 16, 40-41: "Then they shall assemble a mob against you and pelt you with stones and pierce you with swords. They shall put your houses to the flames and execute punishment upon you in the sight of many women; Thus I will put a stop to your harlotry, and you shall pay no more fees."
Friends who are purchased, despite any amont of money, grow to resent the purchaser.
Modern Parallels of Buying Friendships For Military and Economic Security
In 2005 the EU pledged to double it's foreign aid from 40 billion to 80 billion dollars per year (interestingly, EU outspends the US in annual foreign aid probably because these nations have regularly given foreign aid to their former colonies long before the US, which began to help these nations rebuild after WW II).
In 2009, the 2010 a White House budget document proposed to double US foreign aid (not including 1 trillion dollar annual military budget) to 50 billion dollars: "It has become clear over the past decade that all elements of Amercian power must be developed to protect our people, interests and values."
Likewise, just last week Washington proposed to increase the present five year aid package to Pakistan (8-9 billion, passed just last year) by another 7.5 billion dollars.
The US government has twelve departments, twenty five agencies, and sixty offices involved with foreign aid and has poured billions of dollars- borrowed from the Amercian people- into foreign aid. One hundred fifty countries receive our foreign aid.
It is generally agreed that this US largesse began as a humble means to fund the reconstruction of Europe after WW II, and was later stoked by the one upmanship of the cold war.
This spirit of foreign aid largesse grew into the recent US habits of pouring trillions of dollars into "nation building" wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and perhaps Vietnam) and even more recently by the aforesaid call to use all our powers to protect our interests, people and values around the world.
This rapid expansion of foreign aid, in a mere sixty five years, is strikingly akin to the present sovereign largesse of giving trillions of dollars to bail out Wall Street banks and international corporations deemed too big to fail, all for the sake of our domestic security and the security of the world system of power and influence, what the bible calls "Babylon."
Is the US Pouring Out It's Substance In Trying To Micromanage the World For God?
But could we in the US not also be like Israel in the 175 years before the Temple fell in 586 BC, pouring out the very life of ourslves in trying to buy friends in hopes of security around the world?
And aren't we risking becoming Babylon (Rome) herself, if we don't begin to dial back our grandiose posture toward the world?
Rev. 17,4-6 speaks particularly about the exhaustion and bad end of the ancient Roman Empire, symbolized by a prostitute that has had made economic and military "friends" with everybody. These verses are also a cautionary and instructive tale for today.
They speak to the present world system of nations and international banks and corporations and multinational military coalitions and individual nations which are grasping to lead on the world stage without any reverence for the political, moral and spiritual sovereignty of the ever living God of Israel:
"The woman was dressed on purple [luxury] and scarlet and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup filled with the disgusting filth of her prostitution."
Her cup was filled with all the ways and means of her friendly, worldy, idolatrous seduction. "Be like me. Oh so fine, and futuristic, and capable. Be like me, and we'll be friends, and the world will be so much better."
Unless we run out of money.
She was also drunk with the blood of those who would not be bought by her offer of friendship. Yes Lord- better to give one's life substance in witness- than by falling for the charms of Lady Babylon who thought that she had an endless supply of money and power to play with as she liked.
Yes there is valid foreign aid in terms of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and healing the sick. And every nation can follow Christ and love her neighbors.
But pouring billions of foreign aid into corrupt leaders, or onto the bottom line of multinational corporations eager to help "nation build," or resting guilt-free based on the grandiose promises of the international political class, all these are costly realities that have to be re-scrutinized for results, good sense, history, and the lessons of God's word.
It seems that neither money or war buys nations much love these days.
And perhaps there is still something to be said for that lesson Israel had to learn (Isaiah. 7,9). We only get the military and economic security we want as a nation when we totally depend on God and ask him what to do with all the resources he has provided.
If not, we just might soon spend out our very life substance.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...