You trample the poor,
stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent.
Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses,
you will never live in them.
Though you plant lush vineyards,
you will never drink wine from them.
For I know the vast number of your sins
and the depth of your rebellions.
You oppress good people by taking bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (NLT)
Let’s first state the fact that being rich is not the problem here or elsewhere in the Bible. It is not a sin to have more money than others. Let’s not have this hand-wringing guilt about the nice house we live in or the new car we drive.
But let’s not ignore texts like this either. The attack is launched against those who misuse their wealth and power so as to disadvantage the needy. The attack is on injustice and corruption. The attack is on any policies or practices that see the poor trampled underfoot. The attack is on any government or individual that is more focussed on the rich and powerful than those who lack access to the levers of power.
So while we need not indulge in false guilt, nor need we ignore the great dangers that come with our relative wealth. Repeatedly at election time many vote for their own self-interest. Repeatedly we anxiously cling to our privileged status irrespective of the impact it will have on those without privilege.
It is the living God, not our governments or corporations that will have the final say. And this same God is more interested in seeing justice done than the status quo preserved.
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