Micah 6: 9 – 15
The voice of the Lord cries to the city (it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!
Can I forget* the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed?
Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights?
Your* wealthy are full of violence; your* inhabitants speak lies, with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
Therefore I have begun* to strike you down making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not save, and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
James 5: 1-6
Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure* for the last days. 4Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.
Economic injustice and inequality are growing in America today. The rich are, indeed, getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. Given that the Bible has many times more passages devoted to economic morality than to sexual morality, it is altogether appropriate that churches examine the economies that surround them and offer fair critiques of these economies.
Questions to Consider:
1. What are your views on wealth? How do you think God views wealth?
2. In what ways is economic inequality a theological problem?
3. How has poverty or wealth affected your life?
4. In the passage from Micah, God says to the rich: “You shall eat, but not be satisfied.” Do you have personal experience with this dynamic?
5. What is the root of the complaint in the passage from the Letter of James?
Rev. Dr. James Gertmenian