Riches in Bible Times

Riches in Bible Times 

In Bible times, riches often consisted of beautiful clothing and precious metals.  Immense value resided in garments passed down from generation to generation. Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors. Joseph gave Benjamin five changes of clothing. Samson promised thirty changes of garments to the one who guessed his riddle. It was very common to place a great deal of importance in clothing. There was a cycle to the flow of wealth.

In the days of the ancient past, people of influence had treasures that consisted of fine clothing, gold, silver, gems, wine, lands, etc. Any of this in abundance was considered of great value and wealth. Today, we are still thrilled with possessions of jewelry, fine cars, boats, clothing, electronic equipment, houses, money and so on.

While Jesus said that the poor would always be with us, He also made clear the obligation of the wealthy to the needy. In ancient times, there were many examples of brotherhood. Joseph gave his brothers changes of garments. Achan apparently coveted a beautiful Babylonian garment. Today, there are many food drives to feed the hungry and many clothing drives to provide warm apparel for the needy.

James said to the rich men who had hoarded up clothing and wealth, “Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten” (James 5:2 NKJV). In other words, your unused wealth will get you nowhere. The problem here was unused money. These men had gathered riches for riches sake. James said, “The rust of them (your wealth) shall be a witness against you” (James 5:3 KJV). Rust is a symbol of disuse. It is a sign of inactivity.

Of course, we know that rust can destroy even the best of tools and moths also attack things that we consume. Literally, rust in its destructive path will eat into and destroy nearly everything. Rust will eventually corrode all metal including silver and gold.

Figuratively speaking, rust can be anything that would destroy you and your life. In short, all of your treasures, whether physical or otherwise, can be destroyed. The treasures of the kingdom, however, are eternal. When we concentrate on using our earthly possessions to bring glory to God, then we are storing up treasures in heaven.   Your thoughts on this subject?  Your comments appreciated! 

Content © Rich Brott, 2011

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