Tuesday, November 8, 2011
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. James 5:1-3
James has a message for what I will call the oppressive rich in the next few verses. Now, just two disclaimer: A rich person during this time was someone who had more than they need, so most of us reading this would qualify. Secondly, James does not have a problem with someone being rich; just someone becoming rich in a wrong way. This is why he says, “weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” I don’t know about you, but usually I don’t think of rich people as being the ones who should be worried about misery coming. James seems to think that the miseries are on the way. What are these miseries coming for these rich people he’s addressing?
James tells these rich people that their “riches are corrupted.” They have acquired their riches through oppression and dishonesty (look ahed to verse 4). This approach to wealth building is obviously wrong and very risky. It can be lost at any time. He tells them that their “garments are moth eaten.” Clothes at that time were expensive. To have more than one pair meant you were rich, yet theirs were being destroyed. He says that their gold and silver are cankered and have rust on them. He is using language about their riches that speak to the idea that their extra isn’t really helping them.
I believe that James is warning people who have extra to be careful to know why they have extra, and to be careful about how they get extra.
Application: Here is a thought today about those of us who have more than we need. Why have we been so blessed? What responsibilities do we have as a result of being so blessed? Also, have I gotten what I have in a way that would please God? More on this subject tomorrow!