In Luxury and Self-Indulgence
James 5:1-6 ESV
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 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. 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. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.”
This sounds a lot like the current condition in our world, but in particular in my nation, the USA. The USA is a wealthy nation compared to many other nations in the world, although they are not the only wealthy nation on the earth.
Wealth and power sometimes do corrupt, and the USA has both in this world. Now, not everyone in America is wealthy, but they are by the standards of people in other nations who live in abject poverty. Although I grew up very poor, I always had food in my stomach, clothes to wear, a roof over my head, and a bed to sleep on.
Regarding our silver corroding, I think of our national economy. Our money has no real value to it at all. Our dollars are just IOUs. Our government has put us in so much debt we will never be able to pay it off, and they keep printing money that has no backing to it, putting us further in debt.
The US government wields much power in this world over other people and over other nations, too. Evidently the US maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. So, they have much control over what goes on in these other nations, too.
If you read news other than just in the MSM, and if you study history from multiple sources, and not just from the standard history books, and if you pray, and you ask the Lord for wisdom to know what is going on in this world of ours, and/or if you have direct knowledge from personal experience of what the USA is involved in in these other nations, you will understand this passage of Scripture in light of our world today.
We are not the “good guys” rescuing the poor of the world from their misery. We are not the “saviors” of the world doing all good to the people of the world. Often we first create the chaos and then we go into these other nations with a preconceived plan for takeover of their nations. We rob from them their natural resources, kill their people, and takeover their nations.
For, the US government, as we know it, is not the de facto government of the USA. Instead, a small group of the wealthy and powerful elite of the world are the ones who are the de facto government of the USA and who are the ones running the world. And our government serves them.
If we ever were, we no longer are an independent nation, but we are part of a one world government which is taking over the world one nation at a time, and now we see how so many nations of the world are coming together as one and are uniting in an effort to unify the world under a one world order.
Prophecies of Scripture regarding these last days are being fulfilled before our eyes. We can definitely see “the mark of the beast” scenario being played out in what is being called a global crisis, where we are being threatened that if we do not comply with certain things that we will not be able to buy or to sell.
And the church has largely gone the way of the world, making compromises left and right in order to appease human flesh and to attract the world to their gatherings. So, they have also compromised the truth of Scripture and have diluted the gospel to make it more acceptable to the world.
James 5:7-11 ESV
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
A lot of things presently going on in our nations and in the world at large can be troubling to our hearts and minds. We are being faced with threats daily to make compromises with the world or to pay the penalty. Our circumstances, as we once knew them, are being turned upside down. What used to be normal is no longer normal. Upheaval is the new normal.
Daily we are being bombarded with messages in the news media that are based in fear, and which are encouraging strongly that we make responses to these messages in order to alleviate fear. They are trying to get us to fear humans and our circumstances and to act on those fears rather than to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and to seek his guidance and wisdom.
These messages are also encouraging us to grumble against one another, and even to report one another for non-compliance, or they are encouraging us to avoid one another out of fear. Those who do not comply are being singled out as “bad” and even “hateful” or are being called “idiots.”
Christians are turning against and hating one another all because of what they are being fed, and because of what they are believing coming from the mouths of other humans rather than putting their faith and trust in the Lord and in his sovereignty over our lives.
So, the encouragement here is first off that we need to commit everything in our lives over to the Lord, believing that he is fully sovereign, all powerful, and fully in control. Then, we need to pray for wisdom and guidance to make the right decisions, and then to respond in faith, and not in fear.
We must put God and his Word above all other gods and over all humans and their messages to us, and we must rest in the Lord and trust him that he knows what he is doing, and that he is working all things for good for those of us who love (obey) him and who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).
We must NOT believe everything we hear coming from the mouths of the news media or our government leaders or social media memes or pastors of churches, etc., but we must test everything we hear or read in prayer and in the word of God to see if what we are hearing is truth or a lie.
And we must be patient in affliction and steadfast in heart and faith and in commitment to our Lord, and we must not yield to fear, but pray for wisdom so we can respond in faith to our circumstances. When we pray for wisdom we must then have the courage to act on that wisdom despite opposition.
And we must believe God that his purposes will be fulfilled, and that his will will be accomplished. And we must pray for people for their safety, and for their salvation, and for ourselves and our fellow believers to be strong in the Lord and to not cave to pressure to compromise with the world, but that we would continue in the Lord and in his word and in faithful obedience to him.
Stand by Me
By Ben E. King
The former work, a spiritual, “Stand by Me, Father,” off of which this song is partially based, was partially based off Psalms 46:2-3
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No, I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me