They Do Not Resist
5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you (James 5:5-6).
Sometimes poor people have no one to defend them. They might not have many friends or if they do have friends those friend are poor too. Usually those who are poor don’t have anyone on their side who is powerful, with the exception of God. He is as powerful as it gets.
One of the things that makes God very angry is rich people who prey on, abuse, and mistreat weak people. Like James says, they can’t resist. They don’t have the power. They are easy targets. Why do you think God hates it so much when richer people oppress poor people?
One of the reason why God hates the abuse of the weak is that it reeks of selfishness. God hates selfishness. He wants us to be consumed with him. He knows that our only joy will come from seeing, loving, and following him. When we are consumed with self we do whatever we want. We won’t care about the poor because what do the poor have to do with us!?! The poor can’t help us because they don’t have anything to give!
This kind of attitude is the kind of attitude that sends people to hell. It implies that we think we are the greatest thing in the universe, when we are not. God is. He will have no rivals.
How we treat the poor says a lot about what we think of God or who God is. Do we think we are God or that God is God?
If we are merciful to the poor it might show that we understand that selfishness is a horrible way to live and that God is God and that we are not God. We can give to the poor in light of how God has given to us. We can be generous with the poor in light of how generous God has been with us. We can help the poor in light of how much God has helped us.
If we are willing to abuse the poor, this just shows that we don’t understand what God has done for us. This grieves the heart of God and he will not stand for it.
Read Isaiah 58:6-12
• What do you learn here about God’s heart and desires?
• What will be some of the results for us when we align ourselves with God’s desires?
• How can you work to make this happen in your life right where you live today?
Our Father, may we never abuse the poor. May we always see in the poor an opportunity to show the grace that you have given to us. Help us to run hard after you in this way. Since you ran to us, let us run to those who have the most needs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.