The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 81 of 185
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kingdom of God. He warned "Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your
consolation" (Luke 6: 24). The Apostle Paul likewise warned those who desired to be
rich and the dangers that can follow such desires (I Tim. 6: 9, 10). In an age when
money and material things are worshipped so much, we all need to be constantly on our
guard that we are not ensnared by such attitudes of mind.
pp. 36 - 40
We have seen that the first section of chapter 5: deals with the rich who were
oppressing poorer brethren. Verse 4 tells us how his was being done:
"Behold, the hire of the labourers who moved your fields, which is of you kept back
by fraud, crieth out: and the cries of them that reaped have entered into the ears of the
Lord of Sabaoth (hosts). Ye have lived delicately on the earth, and have taken your
pleasure; ye have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned, ye
have killed the righteous one; he doth not resist you" (James 5: 4-6, R.V.).
This avariciousness in defrauding workers of their pay and denying them their living
had always been offensive to the Lord. In the law of Moses Israel had been warned "thou
shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy . . . . . at his day thou shalt give
him his hire, neither shall the sun go down on it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon
it, lest he cry against thee unto the Lord and it be a sin unto thee" (Deut. 24: 14, 15).
In later centuries God made it known that His punishment would fall upon such
inhuman conduct:
"I will come near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness against . . . . . those
that oppress the hireling in his wages" (Mal. 3: 5).
Such conduct does not escape the notice of God, for it has "entered into the ears of the
Lord of hosts". This majestic title of God is found constantly in the O.T., drawing
attention to His sovereign omnipotence. He is the God of the `hosts', that is the armies of
heaven, multitudinous angels who are constantly at His bidding. It is rare in the N.T.
occurring only here and in a quotation Paul makes in Rom. 9: 29 from Isa. 5: 9.
Though poor believers were being robbed and defrauded without apparently anyone to
defend them on earth, yet they had as their helper and avenger none other than the Lord
God omnipotent Who was ready to intervene in judgment.
A further bad trait that often characterizes the rich is luxury and extravagance.
"Ye have lived in pleasure" (delicately R.V.). Etruphesate suggests a life of luxury and
self-indulgence. The cognate noun is found in Luke 7: 25 where it describes the
"delicate" living associated with king's courts. Centuries before, Amos had denounced
such a mode of life:
"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion . . . . . that lie on beds of ivory, and stretch
themselves upon their couches and eat the lamb out of the flock, and the calves out of the