An Indictment of the Rich (James 5: 1 - 6)
5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.
4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. 1
1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Jas 5:1–6). (2016). Crossway Bibles.
“James’ purpose here is not primarily to teach the ungodly rich about the error of their ways, but to show his Christian readers on the receiving end of their ungodliness what God thinks of it.”
Big Idea: Christians, do not fear, envy or emulate the unrighteous rich!
The charges brought against the sinful management of wealth.
1. Hoarding (vs. 2-3)
2. Fraud (vs. 4)
3. Self-indulgence (vs.5)
4. Murder (vs. 6)
Wisdom from heaven on wealth:
1. Are there any ways in which you are tempted to fear, envy, or emulate the unrighteous rich?
2. Do you see yourself in any of the description of the worldly wealthy in these verses?
3. Are there ways in which you aim to have things for yourself, rather than to use things for others? If so, how do you now have an opportunity to change your attitude and actions?
4. Consider using Proverbs 30:8–9 as a prayer guide for growing in contentment in all circumstances.