November 14, 2010

Careless Extravagance

Ezekiel 16:49-50

“Sodom … and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
Ezekiel 16:49


The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are well-known for their horrific sins. But according to Ezekiel the reason for destroying those cities was not just their immorality but their general disregard for people, especially the poor and powerless. They were literally “careless,” showing no concern for the poor and needy. They felt they had the power to do whatever they wanted with anyone, whether man or woman.

That kind of arrogance earned them a swift and devastating destruction. Knowingly causing harm to someone who has no power to resist is evil. The citizens of Sodom did evil in any way they could.

Sow evil, and you will reap evil. That was true in Sodom, and it’s true today. Those who crush by oppression will be crushed. Those who do physical harm will have physical harm done to them. Those who show no concern for the weak will be shown no concern.

It’s easy to dismiss the seriousness of economic sins. An embezzler in a three-piece suit seems less threatening than a purse snatcher or pickpocket sizing up their next target. White-collar crime sometimes seems hardly a crime at all! But economic sins crush the life of millions in our world today. God will not forget those sins on judgment day.

Forgive us, Lord, if we have even unintentionally crushed the poor. Show us how to serve them, and grant us mercy. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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