Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Word for Wednesday Saturday Early Sunday Morning

Tuesday last week; late Saturday night this week. Chaos reigns.

James chapter 5, first six verses:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
If the rotting of riches and the loss of fancy clothes are miseries that make us weep and howl, then they're not just riches and clothes; they're idols, and we've put them in the place that's supposed to be God's place.

The final sentence of this passage needs some thought. In the New American Standard, "he" isn't capitalized, as you'd expect if it refers to Jesus (the NAS capitalizes pronouns that refer to Deity). THe King James also doesn't capitalize this pronoun -- but then, the copy I consulted doesn't capitalize pronouns referring to Deity, nor does the NIV (in fact, it renders the sentence as "You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you"). Still, the righteous man who allows himself to be put to death and does not resist is powerfully reminiscent of Jesus; and, in the Matthew 25 sense, when we mistreat anyone, but especially the poor man or the prisoner, we mistreat Jesus as well; He accounts it that way.

I also hear, in the reference to the withheld pay of laborers crying out against their withholder, an Old Testament echo of Abel's blood crying out to God from under the ground (see Genesis 4:10). God's ways of knowing aren't the same as ours; and it's a little unsettling to consider that, even if we think we're clever and sneaky and do our misdeeds in secret, all of God's creation tells Him our story.

Click here for more Words for Wednesday, most of which are actually posted on Wednesdays ... unlike this one.

3 comments:

akaGaGa said...

Clocks and calendars are artifices created by man, not God, and therefore should be ignored as needed. You've obviously had a need of late, so I would be very pleased if you would shed the baggage you're carrying around in this regard. :)

You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Jesus no doubt is the role model in this regard, but the passage that came to my mind follows - and also happens to relate to the WFW I'm working on for this week.

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. (Matt 5:39-41)

AKA Angrywhiteman said...

Odd you should mention Abel, as this passage has to do with Kenites, the sons of Cain, the murderer of Abel.

Have you ever been curious about why Cain is not included in Adam's genealogy? Why is it Cain is not counted among the sons of Adam? Yet his (Cains) genealogy is brought forth in great detail.

Jim Wetzel said...

To akaGaGa: thanks for the reminder. I'm not actually so conscientious or diligent that the clock and calendar are oppressing me all that much. I just like to try to get sympathy by pretending to worry about them more than I do! :-)

To AKA: I can't say I'd ever wondered about that. (Lots of times, questions like that one just never seem to occur to me; I may not be as curious as I should be.) I suppose I'd have assumed that it was because he went wrong.