I have been praying about the topic of socialism for a while because it seems that many people are considering it to be the answer to our prayers. Bernie Sanders, a proud communist, is touting it as the next big step for America, and many people have taken his bait hook, line and sinker. Even many a Christian. So I began to pray about it and God reminded me of Genesis 47:13-21.
It started with a dream.
The Pharaoh at that time had a disturbing dream and could find no one to reveal its meaning. So it was that several years after Joseph had interpreted two dreams in prison, that the man who lived because of it remembered Joseph. He told the Pharaoh he knew someone who could interpret his dream. Joseph was sought and God gave him the revelation: there would be seven abundant years in Egypt followed by seven years of famine.
Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of Egypt, trusting his wisdom to get them through the next fourteen years. So Joseph began to collect the extras during the years of abundance. Seeing devastation on the horizon, he had the whole land laying up for the famine. When the famine finally arrived, there were storehouses all over Egypt so that when the people’s resources ran out, they had a plan B. Sounds awesome, right?
“There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was so severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. Joseph collected all of the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought all to Pharaoh’s palace. When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, ‘Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is gone.’
“’Then bring your livestock,’ Joseph said. ‘I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.’
“So they brought their livestock to Joseph and he gave then food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for their livestock. When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, ‘We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. Why should we perish before your eyes – we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.’
“So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other.”
Socialism begins with a seeming noble cause. There are hungry people and we need to feed them. Poor people whom we need to care for. Sick people who should be well. Socialism steps up and says, “I can take care of all of this, but I need all of you to pitch in.”
Being the kind caring souls that we are, we give away the excess to the central government that will handle all the needs of the people in their appointed time. So the government holds on to all of it until it’s needed, distributing it to each and all. No one has too much, but eventually, no one has even enough. Which causes a greater dependency on the government.
Then the people find that the government is ruthless. Unbending. “You want to be taken care of? Fine. But we live in an age of quid pro quo – what will you give in return?” Desperation cries out, “Anything!” And before you know it, you are subject to the government in exchange for the excess that you put in in the first place. If, as a whole, a land can be thus brought under control, you have a situation where socialism had given way to communism. Communism can easily be replaced by totalitarianism at this point because there is one hundred percent devastation and desperation. And so it will come until finally, a man steps up and says, “I am your answer! Follow me!” And in place of your government, you will elect a dictator.
This is not conjecture. This is history. It has happened before and if we don’t defy it with our vote, we will acquiesce to it. Some will say, “But Jesus would have us to care for the less fortunate, the poor and the sick.”
Jesus did not ask the government to care for the needs of people. He told the church to. He told his followers to. If you have excess, share the wealth! Don’t expect the government to do that for you, because the truth is, it will not. With so much obvious corruption in that body, how can you expect it to be made well on the wishes of people alone?
Psalms 146:3 says, “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.” We have the answer, church, and it isn’t Bernie Sanders or Hillary. It isn’t the government at all. It is us. Giving what we have. Full of power to heal the sick because Jesus said we could! Full of the knowledge that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). The answer lies in Jesus, and his Holy Spirit operating through the church.