Ye rich men, weep and howl
By Leon King
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 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. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. -- James 5:1-6, King James Bible.
Why, according to God's Holy Word, will men's riches be corrupted? their garments motheaten? their gold and silver cankered? and the rust of their riches as a witness against them? It is because the hire of their workers have been kept back by fraud. And, it is because the cries of those laborers, who have been defrauded by the rich of this world enter into the ears of a Holy and Righteous Creator God. The ears of the Lord of Sabaoth have heard the cries of the poor as they passively live under the domination and oppression of the rich of this world. One day the rich will cry - yea, howl!
One day, this present confusion, this economic Babylon that men have wrought in Western culture - which has spread to and through the merchants of the earth will suddenly and forever end!
Some weeks ago, this writer watched a Japanese man openly weep because of the sudden disaster in the Japanese Stock Market. I believe that much of what we see in the stock markets in the world is controlled by a relatively small number of the elite rich. No doubt, their purpose is to become richer - more powerful - more influental - to control and dominate. To you who are God's people suffering under the domination of such, don't fret. God is looking on. Their iniquity is not yet full, but it is coming! Read with me:
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. -- Revelation 18:4-19, King James Bible.
God's people are admonished to not seek after riches nor to trust in them. The will to be rich (full) is a snare to be avoided because of the certain hurt it brings. The scriptures teach that the love for riches drowns men in destruction and perdition. Perdition - what is that? It is utter destruction - forever and ever! Certainly, it is not riches in itself that does that, but the love for riches that is never replaced by the love for God - for His word, and for His people. This only comes when one repents and believes the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. -- 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
Sometimes God gives some of His people riches in this present age. When He does so, it is for the benefit of the saints. People who are blessed of the Lord with abundance must be ready to distribute, willing to communicate. That means that they are willing to use whatever God gives them for the benefit of the Lord's people. As a child, I grew up in a rural community where most people didn't have a lot of money. There was one man in the community, though, that God seemed to give a lot more than others. That man was a deacon in the church. Like most of the others in the community, he was a farmer. Many of the people in that community either hated him or were envious of what he had. My dad pointed out to me that whenever there was someone in great need, the old deacon was the first at their door with help. Whenever there was a need in the church, he was the one who sold a cow or two and put the money in the treasury of the church. Whenever somebody needed work, this man was always there to provide a job. Whenever there was a grave to be dug or other work with no pay, the deacon was there first - and often the only one there. He used what God had given him to be a blessing to others.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. -- 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
The Bible teaches that it is the rich men who oppress others and drag them into courts. It is the rich people of this world order who wrangle lands and houses from the hands of widows and orphans.
... Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? -- James 2:6,7.
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