- This is a grave warning to the rich who oppress field workers for personal gain.
There are many negative effects that wealth can have on people's lives.
The culprit is not the wealth or the money itself. It's the love and
lust for money and the failure in stewardship. "Those who want to get
rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful
desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of
money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have
wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1
All riches in this life not invested in Heavenly treasure are doomed to
destruction. All the earthly possessions/wealth will rot, decay, be
gone. We cannot take any of it with us when we die. How foolish it is
for us to spend our whole life hoarding wealth! There are many
stories/examples about wealthy people who end up miserable and lost at
the end of their lives.
Wealth is meant to be used for good purposes...for the good of mankind.
We're blessed to be a blessing to others/to share with others
(especially those in need), not to hoard for ourselves. We should use
our resources for God's glory and God's kingdom, not ours.
Though the rich oppressors didn't realize it, wealth was destroying
them and their last days were already present and misery/judgment was
coming on them.
Their first sin was hoarding wealth (failing in their stewardship of
God's resources). Their second sin was the cruel defrauding/cheating
they did to the poor farm laborers. The Lord Almighty (whose Name
suggests His sovereign omnipotence) is not oblivious to the injustice.
"The Lord is a Refuge for the oppressed, a Stronghold in times of
trouble." (Psalm 9:9)
Their third sin was their luxurious/extravagant living and
self-indulgence (pleasing themselves with everything they wanted and
going to any length to get more). It's all about worldly pleasures and
Poor people are dragged into court (James 2:6) and cannot defend
themselves. They're completely at the mercy of the unscrupulous rich
men. These rich men used the courts to "condemn" and "murder" the
innocent/the just. The rich lifestyle can be addicting and become a
consuming sin that leads to other sins. The thought and pursuit of it
becomes the primary focus in life (we even see this in some
Christians---ex: Prosperity Gospel).
What God is condemning: cheating, taking advantage of people,
dishonorable ways of obtaining and using wealth, hoarding, flaunting of
wealth with luxurious living and self-indulgence. By doing these things,
they were dishonoring God Who was the One Who blessed them in the first
- We must examine ourselves. I'm pretty sure all of us here are "rich"
:) (according to the Bible, being "rich" is having more than what we need
to survive today). Are we generous? It may not involve cheating people
out of pay but simply an attitude of being as stingy as possible to keep
more money for ourselves. It's a mindset that is self-focused and is
not being considerate about others. Remember that God loves a cheerful
giver and it is more blessed to give than to receive :)!