Aug. 17, 2020

What Does James 5:2-4 Mean?

What Does James 5:2-4 Mean?

"Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 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. 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." (James 5:2-4 NIV)

Hey! Welcome to today's Bible Study Podcast. We've been studying the book of James verse-by-verse.
 
YESTERDAY ON THE SIMPLE TRUTH BIBLE STUDY PODCAST:

Yesterday, we explored James 5:1 about the rich, non-Christian (possibly Jewish) landowners taking advantage of peasant labor. James warned them of the impending judgment coming upon them.

IN TODAY'S BIBLE STUDY:
 

  • How James uses the idea of a courtroom to show how the rich will face judgment
  • Why didn't the landowners pay the peasants their wages?
  • The results from the cries of the harvesters

 
Listen in to discover the fascinating history and culture of these verses that bring this scripture alive in your life. 
 
 LISTEN NOW!

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Transcript

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.

Yesterday, we explored James 5 verse 1 about the rich, non-Christian (possibly Jewish) landowners taking advantage of peasant labor. James warned them of the impending judgment coming upon them.

Now, if you remember James’ wrote his letter to the Messianic Jews, that is Jews who became Christians. But does it strike you as strange that James suddenly begins talking to the wealthy landowners right in the middle of it?  

 Scholars tell us that these New Testament letters were intended to be read multiple times to different audiences. They were copied, delivered to various cities and then read aloud in various settings.

James anticipated that his letter would be read in front of these wealthy, evil unbelievers, so he took this opportunity to warn them of the judgment coming against them when they meet the Lord in James 5:2-3. He says, “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.” 

 James is giving the idea of a courtroom setting here. He’s saying that all this wealth that you’re hoarding for yourself will be used as evidence against you one day. It gives this picture of a person who didn’t care for those who are less fortunate. It’s evidence that you only cared for yourself.   

 James continues in verse 5, “ 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.” 

 As we discussed yesterday, the day laborers would harvest the landowner’s fields and then expect to receive their wages at the end of each day. But the rich landowner wouldn’t pay them based on some technicality that they claimed the laborer did or didn’t do. And they got away with it (or at least they THOUGHT they got away with it) because they knew these peasants didn’t have the money to fight them in court.

 And James tells them, “Look, you didn’t get away with anything. God has heard the cries of these harvesters. And trust me, you will receive your penalty one day.”

 So, your simple truth for today: When your last day comes, what will the evidence say about you? Did you store up treasures here on earth or did you store up treasures in heaven?

 Hey, if you’re wanting to dig deeper and understand more of the Bible, you’re off to a great start. Keep up the good work by joining us daily. Ask your Amazon smart speaker to “Play Bible Study.”

 I’m Julie Carruth and I’ll see you again tomorrow.