“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work, who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion.’ Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord. “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.” Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: ‘They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’ They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’ He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 22:13-19
Everyone weeps at the funeral of a good man, but nobody mourns for a tyrant. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Kings are as kings do.” God’s indictment of Jerusalem’s rulers is direct. Just because you have a house fit for a king does not mean you are fit to run God’s kingdom. Simply amassing wealth does not make you spiritually rich. This was all because Judah’s rulers had acquired their wealth & power by exploiting the apple of God’s eye, His people! Instead of God’s hireling shepherds, called to lay down their lives for His “sheep,” the ruling elite considered themselves owners of the flock, intent on slaughtering & shearing the sheep. God may bless us with wealth, but it is not so that we can live lavishly. He calls us to care for even the “least” of His lambs.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
Among Christians, it is widely accepted that homosexuality was the sin for which God judged Sodom & Gomorrah. While homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord, He says (through the prophet Ezekiel) that there was a whole other reason (one much closer to the hearts of every believer) for which He judged Sodom.
“‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore, I took them away as I saw fit.’” Ezekiel 16:48-50
Homosexuality was simply an out-working of a culture bent on pride and fullness of food & leisure, all the while neglecting “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40) Oh that America would hear this message, turn from their mirrors and seek the Lord!
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