The Destroyer of Wealth: ENVY, FEAR, & THEFT
Isaac & the Philistines
Isaac was the heir to Abraham’s wealth and God’s promise.
Genesis 25:5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.
God reestablished His covenant with Isaac as He did with Abraham.
26:3 Live for a time in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed Me and fulfilled his duty to Me, and kept My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
As his father did, Isaac believed God in His promise to bless him and his family. Isaac’s faith is evidenced in his obedient actions, whereas God blessed the results of his actions. Isaac was not perfect but did his best to follow the commands of God.
26:12 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundred times as much. And the Lord blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds, and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.
Isaac had already inherited a fortune from Abraham. Through his wise stewardship, he continued to multiply his wealth according to God’s principles. God’s ways ALWAYS produces the best results.
However, blessed results may attract attention, good and bad. We cannot control how other people think, but we can control ourselves and how we chose to live. Isaac was focused on living for God, but the Philistines could only see the blessings and not the source of the blessings. Their jealousy for Isaac’s material possessions blinded them from the truth behind the blessings.
26:15 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with dirt. 16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” 17 So Isaac departed from there and camped in the Valley of Gerar, and settled there.
The envy of the Philistines led them to destroy the wells so that no one, including themselves, could benefit from it. They became fearful of Isaac and his people so that they drove them away, rather than befriending them and benefiting from God’s blessings on them. This sounds like the philosophy of “Protectionism” where people, organizations, and/or governments deploy strategies to deter and eliminate competition.
26:18 Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they argued with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah. 22 Then he moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, “At last the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
The very first invention of man to save labor, is theft. This pattern of wealth destruction is evident throughout human history. Envy leads to Fear, fear invents a Justification that leads to Theft. This process exists in all people that each of us must battle against often. Sometimes this process is manufactured to justify theft.
Nazi Germany is an extreme example of this process, but the pattern is easily seen. I encourage the reader to apply it to other scenarios as well.
When Adolf Hitler first came to power in 1933 … the German economy was still reeling from the Great Depression. Hitler committed his government to two main economic policies: military armament and Autarky, or economic self-sufficiency. By promoting the use of German coal and putting taxes towards the military, Hitler steered his country towards a thriving economy. But even as the nation’s financial state recovered, he needed more money for the military, and so he created a fictional private enterprise to underwrite promissory notes… (Sounds like a Private National Bank to issue his own paper currency). Somehow that fake money had to be made real so that various government entities, like the military, would actually have the capital to function without bringing down the economy, and that’s where Jewish wealth came to play.
Hitler espoused a virulent form of anti-Semitism that offered German citizens an enemy to rally around. He held Jews responsible for Germany’s military humiliation in World War I and also encouraged the belief that Jews grew wealthy through theft from Aryans. “The robbery part [of Hitler’s decree] is embedded in this ideology that these people are parasites who attach themselves to us, and they live by sucking our blood, and we are entitled to punish them and take it all back,”…
On April 26, 1938, the “Decree for the Reporting of Jewish-Owned Property” issued by Hitler’s government took effect, requiring all Jews… to register any property or assets valued at more than 5,000 Reichsmarks (around $2,000 in American currency of the period, or $34,000 today). From furniture and paintings to life insurance and stocks, nothing was immune from the registry. By July 31 of that year, German finance officials had collected paperwork from some 700,000 Jewish citizens — 7 billion Reichsmarks-worth of wealth ripe for state-sanctioned theft known as “aryanization.”
“Aryanization was essentially a gigantic, trans-European trafficking operation in stolen goods,”... As Nazi-occupied territory grew from Austria to Poland to more of Eastern Europe, so, too, did the number of Jewish families the Nazis could steal from.
Following the April 1938 property registry, Jewish citizens faced an increasing number of economic laws that chipped away at their livelihood. They lost allowances and exemptions for having children, and were forced into the highest tax bracket regardless of their income... From there, many Jewish-owned firms were falsely charged with tax evasion going back to the 1920s, on which they were forced to pay arrears.
Whether Jewish citizens stayed in Germany and Austria or left, they were doomed to lose much, if not all, their property. Just under half of those assets went directly to the German state. According to Hayes, in the national budget for 1938–1939, an entire 5 percent came solely from wealth confiscated from Jews. The rest of the assets went to non-Jewish citizens, in the form of houses, businesses and goods sold for vastly less than their value. This left Jewish citizens without means of supporting themselves, without homes, and without any connection to their previous lives.
DEMOCRACY = Majority Rule
…“The failure of law to protect their property was one of the first steps toward the erasure of both the present and future identities of Austrian Jews.”
And ordinary citizens were more than willing to participate in the looting of Jewish property. “When the Nazis wipe out the Jewish inhabitants of a village in eastern Poland [later in the war], one of the first things they would do is distribute all the property to the locals,”... “This was a way of winning popular support. It created a complicity between the occupiers and the occupied, and a common interest, and the Nazis exploited that.”
…unfortunately, some will choose plunder over production if the former requires less effort than the latter. A grave danger arises when the class of people who make the law (legislation) turns to plunder.
… the plundered classes, rather than seeking to abolish the perversion of law, instead strive to get in on it… The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. — Frederic Bastiat “The Law” 1850
Bastiat’s definition of Legal Plunder: the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.
EXAMPLES: …we have an infinite number of plans for organizing [legal plunder]: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole — with their common aim of legal plunder — constitute
What was Isaac’s response to the destruction of his wealth?
Isaac knowing that the Philistines were already envious and fearful of him, sought peace with them rather than demanding restitution. He refused to steal from others, even if he thought it was justified. He sought a good reputation as a humble testimony to the Philistines of God’s grace. Isaac was showing them a BETTER WAY. We see the fruit of Isaac’s humble testimony when Abimelech respects Isaac, acknowledge the Lord as the source of Isaac’s wealth, and together they make a treaty not to harm each other (Genesis 26:26–33 — Covenant with Abimelech).
Though Isaac responded humbly to the thieves, he was also reliant upon God, his own abilities, and NO ONE ELSE.
Which one are YOU?
There are TWO great dangers that everyone should keep in mind:
- Other’s ENVY, FEAR, & THEFT of our personal wealth.
- Our ENVY, FEAR, & THEFT of other’s personal wealth.
BOTH destroy even the potential for wealth. Be on guard.
The Financial Solution
Financial accountability, with others and ourselves, can ONLY be possible if every individual maintains control over our own financial system like Isaac did, rather than abdicate our responsibility to others who may not be as honest as we would want.
“Economic problems are best solved by people freely contracting with one another and with government limited to the function of enforcing those contracts. The absolute best way to do so is through the magnificent idea of dividend-paying whole life insurance. It has more in common with banking than it does with life insurance. A better name would have been a ‘banking system with a death benefit thrown in for good measure.’ It has been around for over 200 years and stood the test of time. It is not compulsory. It is not a government sponsored idea. It preceded the income tax idea by a long time. It is Private Property! Also, the only people who participate in this idea are people who truly care about other people. What a great group of people to be engaged in business with.” — Excerpts from ‘Becoming Your Own Banker’ by R. Nelson Nash
EVERYONE must become their own “Banker”.