Beware of Greed

KEY VERSE: “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.” —Micah 3:4


VERY LITTLE IS known about Micah as a prophet of the Lord except that he came from Moresheth; most likely Moresheth-Gath in southern Judah. (Mic. 1:1,14) He was a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea, prophesying against both the ten-tribe kingdom and Judah, most likely from 750 B.C. to 680 B.C. Micah predicted the fall of Samaria (Mic. 1:5-7) and the desolation of Judah.—vss. 9-16

In the second chapter of his prophecy, Micah berates the rich of both nations for their greed. He says, “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out, because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance.”—Mic. 2:1,2, New International Version

Both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah had reached a deplorable state where greed of influential people was ruining the nation. Being under the Law, they knew that such violations of the Law would bring punishments and disgrace. Micah plainly told them, ‘The Lord says: I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity.” (vs. 3, NIV) But false prophets were saying, “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.”—vs. 6, NIV

Micah then dealt with the leaders of the people, saying to them, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?” (vss. 1-3, NIV) Greed is a great evil; by it devastation comes to many people.

His prophecy was continued against the false prophets (vss. 5-7) and against the leaders, priests, and prophets (vss. 9-12) who, as a group, were condemned for their corruption and greed. “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.” (vs. 11) No amount of crying to the Lord could change the condemnation which was coming upon them. Instead, “Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the Temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” (vs. 12) All of this came upon the nation when Babylon took the people captive.

After the seventy years captivity was ended, God restored favor to this people, and they were permitted to return to their land. But their leaders had not learned the lesson. Again greed became a factor in the decline of the nation. When Jesus denounced the scribes and Pharisees as recorded in Matthew 23, he said, among other things, “Woe to you because you plunder the families of widows.”—vs. 13, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott

In the parable of the unjust steward, Jesus said, “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches.” See Luke 16:1-13, NIV. There we also read, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (vs. 13) The “Pharisees who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.” This prompted him to say, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men, is detestable in God’s sight.” (vss. 14,15, NIV) How true that God detests greed, and how surely he will close his ears to those who cry unto him if their hearts are full of greed. How necessary it is for all of us to examine our hearts daily to remove from them any stain or spot contaminating the heart with greed.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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