Inflation is a sustained rise in the general level of prices.
Purchasing power falls. The cost of living increases. The country's currency depreciates. Interest rates rise. High inflation increases homelessness, hunger, and economic hardship. In extreme cases, inflation can cause economic and political systems to fail.
Inflation occurs when too much money chases too few goods. Crop failures, wars, natural disasters and other events cause fewer goods and higher prices. At other times central banks increase the money supply and higher prices ensue. When inflation begins, expectations of higher prices cause inflation to increase. If consumers expect higher prices tomorrow, they buy today, thus adding to an upward inflationary spiral.
Inflation can destroy monetary wealth quickly. Zimbabwe recently decided to retire the Zimbabwe dollar (Z$). The Z$ had become worthless due to the hyperinflation of 2008-09. Zimbabwe had experienced drought, decreases in agricultural output due to land redistribution policies, uninhibited government spending, dramatic increases in the money supply, and too much debt.
The IMF estimated the annual inflation rate in September 2008 to be 489 billion percent. In retiring the Z$, the government will credit bank accounts 5 US dollars for every 175 quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars. In 1980, 1 US dollar was worth 2/3 of a Zimbabwe dollar. Inflation destroys monetary wealth.
As members of the kingdom, we are not left alone in any economic environment. We have the Word of God with its promises. We have the Spirit of God to guide, direct and empower us at all times. We have the authority to use the name that is above all. Biblical examples abound.
After this, Ben-Hadad king of Aram gathered all his army, went up, and besieged Samaria. There was a great famine in Samaria, and they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver. (2 Kings 6:24-25)
Elisha prophesied that the next day grain would be cheap. In fulfillment, within one day the Lord had moved Samaria from famine and inflation to abundance. Four lepers went into the camp of the Arameans and found the camp deserted with all of the bounty remaining. The Lord had scattered the army. The only Samaritan that didn't participate in the new found abundance was the officer that didn't believe Elisha.
Elijah prophesied drought which would have included inflation. During the drought, the Lord directed Elijah where to go to get food. The drought was broken when Elijah prayed on Mount Carmel after the people had fell on their faces and said "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!"
Joseph heard from God. The Lord was with him. He ran from temptation. He prospered in all circumstances. He was promoted to second under Pharaoh. His supernatural wisdom and insight caused the wealth of Egypt to be transferred to Pharaoh as food became scarce and valuable. His favor allowed him to save and bring prosperity to the entire tribe of Israel.
Isaac experienced a famine (and probably inflation). He heard the Lord tell him to not go to Egypt and he would prosper. Isaac believed. He planted in a drought and reaped a hundredfold return.
The Lord will lead, guide, and empower us through inflationary and other times of economic stress. We need to be faithful, give into the kingdom, step up our prayer life, and push in for more of His presence. All is well.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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