James 5 – Of Deceitful Riches/Rules & Righteous Prayer
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. James 5:1-3
From the Scripture above, James is not saying that rich men are evil, or that it is evil to be rich. Rather he is speaking to the rich who have acquired their riches through deceit, and corruption. Those who oppress and steal from the poor to gain. Such riches, as the Bible makes us understand are corrupted, rusted, eaten by moths, with holes, unpure.
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.
The imperfection of these riches is what allows them to canker and rust. True gold and silver does not canker. The imperfection of such riches will stand as a witness against those who trusted in them.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:17-18.
True riches does not decay. The riches being referred to here is faith. When we look at Job, we see that this man was Rich, rich, rich in Faith. Likewise he was also very rich in goods. If YAHUVEH chooses to bless His children with riches, these riches are pure because they come from His.
The last line of verse 3 makes us understand two things: These riches have been gathered because of greed, not only so, the men or women who have gathered these riches trust in their riches rather than GOD. Indeed, as YAHUSHUA said in Matthew 12:15 “…Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
The parable which YAHUSHUA tells in Matthew 12, The Rich Fool, though the Bible does not tell us that he gained his wealth deceitfully, his error was trusting in his goods rather than Almighty YAHUVEH.
The Rich men described in James not only trust in themselves, but built their wealth through deceit, untruthfulness, and affliction.
Just as the blood of righteous Abel cried out against Cain, so does the voice of those who worked in the vineyards of these rich men who went without pay cry out against them. YAHUVEH heard and avenged Abel, and he will do the same for these afflicted workers. For this reason verse 1 tells these rich men to weep and howl for the miseries that will come upon them.
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. Deuteronomy 24:14-15
Vengeance belongs to YAHUVEh, and he will take vengeance. The verse above is reason why the Bible places such a great emphasis on pleading for widows and the fatherless. GOD is Father of all. If a widow, or fatherless child prays for justice YAHUVEH will hear and recompense.
These ‘rich men’ we read of in James 5 are not only fools, but fools under the wrath of GOD. They have acted to fulfill the lust of the flesh, killed and oppressed the innocent because they were not able to fight back.
This requires patience from the believer, verse 7. To wait on YAHUSHUS and his righteousness, that hew may reign as KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords. As believers we need to be patient to see the frutation of YAHUVEH’s eternal plan. YAHUSHUA knew the Father’s will even when He was born. Even at such a young age He told his parents that He was attending His Father’s business. Yet he was around 33 when He fished all that YAHUVEH had planned for him to do. We need patience.
Sufferings will come, Just as YAHUSHUA suffered, we will also have to suffer to be a part of him. Job suffered, yet he endured, kept his faith, and was patient, we saw his end. His substance was doubled. Unlike the rich fool, Job was rich in GOD, as such his earthly riches came from above.
Verse 12 Reminds us that we are not to swear. A simple yes or no suffices all things, swearing will bring us into damnation.
If afflicted we are to pray that GOD will relieve our afflictions, if one is joyful, then they are to praise, and sing unto YAHUVEH, YAHUSHUA, and SHKHINYAH. The sick is to call the elders of the church, that they may anoint him with oil in the name of YAHUSHUA ha MASHIACH. A prayer of faith is mighty to the uprooting of mountains. We need to also understand that many times our prayers do not penetrate because we have unconfessed sin in our heart. We may have sinned against another believer, and because we have not made things right with this believer our prayers are not being answered. For this cause, as stated in James 5:16, we are to confess our faults to one another, and pray for each other that we may be healed. Confessing our faults also addresses another issue brought up in James 4, verse 1.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16. Eliyah prayed that it would not rain, and for 3 and a half years no rain feel. Until the same man prayed for rain once again. Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still, and it did. Such men and women where righteous before Elohim, as such their prayers penetrated and came before YAHUVEH. Be ye Holy as I am Holy.
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.