James 5:1-6: “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”
The folks James is writing about are dishonest farmers. They didn’t pay their workers. The phrase “Failed to pay” is literally “kept back by fraud.” This was a deceitful business practice because most day laborers were paid at the end of every day to buy food and necessities. The wealthy business owners were holding it back and exploiting the workers.
You may not be an employer or a business owner, but there is a principle we can apply to everyone’s life. Do you have any outstanding debts? Are you current on your bills? If not, you are hurting the cause of Christ because we are charged to have no obligation except to love one another.
Similarly, if you are a worker who is exploited or defrauded, we can learn something. What did these poor workers who were cheated do? They cried out to God!
“Lord Almighty” = “Lord Sabaoth” This is the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—used in 1 Samuel 1:3 (281x in OT). That is who we cry out to and who hears us when we experience injustice and oppression. It is the name of the Lord in manifestation of power. As the Lord Almighty, God can marshal all the hosts of heaven to fulfill His purposes and help His people.
THIS IS WHO THE POOR WHO HAVE BEEN WRONGED CRY OUT TO!
God is the defender of the poor and oppressed.
The Lord looks at honesty, justice, honor with money.
Make sure your priorities are straight.
Some questions to consider:
-Where might you be committing fraud in your life?
-How can you settle accounts with anyone you need to?
-What areas might you need to cry out to God for mercy and help?