Deuteronomy 11:10-15 For the land into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of Heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied….
These powerful verses describe the beginnings of an entirely new culture for God’s people. They were finally going to the land that was promised after 400 years of bondage in Egypt. They were being led by the manifest presence of God (the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire), to a land He had reserved for His people. In fact, a heathen people were already tilling their land, building their cities, and cultivating their vineyards. No start-up capital was necessary for their small businesses in this new land. Their agricultural businesses were waiting for them. What is unique about this moment in history is that the Lord was also promising His people an unprecedented level of involvement in the economics of this nation. These verses represent the beginning of a second economic system. Before this moment, God’s economic blessing was given to individuals. Now, for the first time, we see God’s economic system being established on a national scale. We are living in the days when God is restoring His system of economics to the marketplace in every nation on earth. It is a system that will enable families, businesses, governments and nations to flourish because of God’s unprecedented involvement in all aspects of culture.
Attention to Details
In the preceding verses in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses said the Lord was sending them to …a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. In this new land, God would personally attend to one of the most important elements of agriculture, watering the crops. He was not going to give indiscriminate rainfall, but targeted, carefully timed rainfall: the former rain, which gives the germination stage of agriculture the necessary boost, and the latter rain, which is necessary for the crops to reach full potential. He said He would even give grass for the cattle to eat. How could it be that the Lord actually watched over these fields, herds, and vineyards? Why would He attend to every detail necessary for economic success of an entire nation of people? Why would God care whether these businesses succeeded? This must have been an inconceivable paradigm shift to a people who for almost 400 years had been the primary labor force for one of the most powerful nations on earth. God was establishing a new economic system called the Kingdom Economy.
Restoration of the Partnership
Today, there is a growing awareness among marketplace people around the world of this same economic system — the Kingdom Economy. Living productively in this new economic system required a change of thinking for the people of Israel in the days of the Exodus. It was God’s engagement in their economy that shaped their success, not just their human effort and ingenuity. They were required to till and cultivate the ground, plant and harvest the crops, but their labor was in partnership with God. To live productively in this Kingdom Economy today requires a change of thinking on our part, as well. In our day, we are seeing a restoration of these principles taking place. The principles of God’s economic system have always been there. However, because we now live in the Kingdom age, these principles are being restored. It is important to understand that the message of the Kingdom Economy is not a new teaching that is sweeping the earth; it is not a new way of conducting business; it is not a matter of sanitizing what exists; this is a restoration of the principles of God’s Kingdom Economy to the marketplace.
Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the Kingdom everywhere He went. There are over one hundred and fifty references Jesus made to the “Kingdom” in the New Testament. When He taught us how to pray, He included the phrase “…Thy Kingdom come.” He went about preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. In Matthew 6, He told us to seek the Kingdom first. The topic of “The Kingdom” was throughout His parables. Yet it is also clear that Jesus recognized another kingdom, and that these two kingdoms are in conflict with one another. Jesus successfully endured temptation from the devil in Matthew 4:8-9: Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
Is Satan able to give these kingdoms of the world to Jesus? In John 12:32, Jesus referred to Satan as …the ruler of this world. In II Corinthians 4:4, the apostle Paul refers to him as …the god of this world. The Greek for world is kosmou derived from the word kosmos which means “order, arrangement, ornament, adornment.” 1 There is a system or an order to the things of this world. What are these two opposing “kingdoms,” and what does all this have to do with economics?
Two World Views in Conflict
First, it is important to realize that these two “kingdoms,” the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke about, and the kingdom of this world, are essentially two completely different realities. Each reality is expressed in our lives by our world view. Our world view determines our behavior, not only in the marketplace, but in our approach to life itself. Just as these kingdoms are in conflict with one another, so these world views are also in conflict. For example, one world view may be represented in business as a drive for success at any cost, corruption, manipulation of clients, greed, selfish ambitions, self promotion, and self-interest as the top priority in dealings with others. We may experience the world view of the Kingdom through integrity in business dealings, generosity, loyalty and faithfulness, honoring our commitments even when it costs us, and loving and blessing those who use us and seek to destroy us. Our behavior always exposes the world view of our kingdom. These kingdoms are direct opposites in their very nature.
Goals and Objectives
These world views are completely different because their goals and objectives are different. One world view is godless and will place man and his achievements at the center of worship (though it will never be defined as worship). The other is a theocracy with God as the sovereign ruler. One is the system of the world and the other is the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke about. According to the Book of Revelation, one system will eventually lead to the coming of the Antichrist. The second will lead us to the coming of the Messiah. Both world views are realities. Both operate simultaneously in the world. It is up to us to choose which reality we will live in. If we live in the Kingdom of God, then we must come under His Lordship and operate by His principles as they are laid out for us in Scripture.
What does all this have to do with economics? It is impossible to be a participant in either of these kingdoms, with their respective world views, without living by the system of economics required by those kingdoms. Just as the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world are polar opposites, so these economic systems are also polar opposites in their objectives, methods of operation, and impact on the lives of individual participants. Each economic system produces fruit in our lives that reflects the nature of the author of the system.
Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer in his book A Christian Manifesto says it this way: “These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results — including sociological and governmental results, and specifically including law.”
What was taking place in Deuteronomy 11:10-15 with the people of Israel was a precursor to what is taking place in our world today. We are living in a time when the principles of the Kingdom are being established. God wants His people to be distinguished today by their integrity, humility, and power. There is no question that His people, whether in Africa, South America, the Far East, or Europe, can operate by the same standards of the Kingdom Economy and they will produce consistent results. He causes us to prosper, not for our sake, but for the sake of His Kingdom. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, But you shall remember the LORD your God for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Again, Francis Schaeffer says, “It is not that these two world views are different only in how they understand the nature of reality and existence. They also inevitably produce totally different results. The operative word here is inevitably. It is not just that they happen to bring forth different results, but it is absolutely inevitable that they will bring forth different results.”
These two systems differ from one another in practical, tangible ways. When we understand how they differ, we will be better able to live in the Economy of the Kingdom.