Summary: Warnings to those who use wealth in an oppressive manner.

Rich Oppressors

James 5:1-6

Today we are going to look cautions to rich oppressors. Now you may be saying, "but I’m not rich." That’s not a reason to tune out today, because all of us can fall into the category of an oppressor.

The chapter begins with a warning to the rich oppressor. The first thing that is dealt with is the issues of societal gulf. Not only was there a societal gulf in ancient days, but we also find it present today. The differences are evident all around us between rich v. poor, country club v. soup kitchen, rolls royce v. chevy chevette. Prestige and image gulfs are evident all around us. The rich oppressor is given a severe warning. The directive is to weep and wail, which literally means to shreik and howl. Why should the rich oppressor "shreik and howl?" Because the terror of judgement is coming - the Lord’s return. The oppressor is warned about the coming destruction of those things that have brought security.

The destructive forces we see include rot. The land will rot, the food will rot. When an item rot, it loses health. We also see that other things will be moth-eaten. That Versace dress will be worthless and no longer a symbol of status. Lastly we see corrosion. Precious metals corrode and rust. What was once valuable is now scrap yard filler. The things destroyed by these forces are evidences of a hoarding lifestyle. A hoarding lifestyle is built on possessions. In a hoarding lifestyle God is left out of the picture. Others are used and not cherished. Every relationship is a means to an end.

When you live the life of oppression those you oppress will be witnesses against you. Those you failed to pay by withholding credit that is due. Realize that our success is largely built upon the sweat of others. Without them, we would not have our success. Their testimony about us reveals the truth about us. Think about it, what is more credible, what you say about yourself or what others say about you.

We are given some contrasts. First of all the issue of hunger is dealt with. The workers go hungry while the the rich are fat and stuffed. This is only an outward manifestation of a self indulgent lifestyle. The workers take care of the rich while the rich look out for selfish desires and lust. We see the following selfish desires propogated in our society every day.

1. sex

2. money

3. greed

4. corruption

The rich oppressor is like a cows being led to slaughter. The cow eats and eats and eats, never aware that it is being fattened up only to be destroyed and parted.

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