Day 13 – USURY AND PROFITEERING
THE ETERNAL SACRED ORDER OF THE CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM
Day 13 – USURY AND PROFITEERING
TEXT: EZEKIEL 22:12-16
USURY and PROFITEERING are two identical twins with different names. Hardly can you spot the difference in characters between the two. But for the sake of a better understanding, let’s give more distinct definitions.
USURY is “the act of lending money at an exorbitant rate of interest” or “Charging a rate of interest greater than that permitted by law”.
PROFITEERING is “the act of making a profit by methods considered unethical. Business owners may be accused of profiteering when they raise prices during an emergency. The term also applies to businesses that play on political corruption to obtain government contracts. Both definitions are talking on making profit through unlawful, unethical and illegal means.
USURY: In the text above, God, through His prophet Ezekiel expresses His anger against His beloved people of Israel over their greed. It is this greed that led them into usury, which God abhors. Israelites were neck deep into this messy transaction (of an interest rate of a commodity far greater than that permitted by the law of the land), hence attracting the wrath of God. Hear what God says in verse 15 “And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee”. This outburst would tell you how serious God takes this sin, which has been baptized as “swift gain” in our present business parlance.
In this present time, a lot of people are involved in this ugly practice. Somebody would run to you with a burden of problems, hoping that you would provide the needed succour, say for instance, one who needs some money to carter for a pressing family problem so to say, being the fact that the person is in dire need of that money, the condition you would spell out for him would be such that by the time he pays back the said sum it would be with an outrageous interest.
Most times, people accede to that condition under duress. Why would you lend N1000 to your neighbor and in return demand N2000? God abhors it. The book of Psalm 15:5 says that “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved”. Be your brother’s keeper. Read Luke 6:38 and see the blessings of giving. It’s abundant.
PROFITEERING: Different categories of business people cannot claim ignorance, and as such are guilty. This is ranging from inflating the cost of items by both petty and large-scale traders, even up to big time contractors both in government and private sectors of the economy; to the tune of millions of naira. Contractors executing different projects for various churches, without minding that they are doing business with God, inflate the prices unjustly for selfish gains.
Some members saddled with the responsibility of making purchases for the church upkeep see that as an opportunity to make brisk businesses. God is not happy with that, therefore desist from it and repent. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26) The only time you have is now.
Remember Zacchaeus, in his submission to prove to Jesus his readiness for true and total repentance “…said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” (Luke 19:8) You too can tow that path also.
OTHER FORMS OF PROFITEERING: exploitation, extortion, fraud, graft, etc.
CONSEQUENCES OF USURY AND PROFITEERING.
They deny access to GOD’S Kingdom (Psalm. 15:5); they lead to disaster (Prov. 28:8); they lead to death (Ezek. 18:13); they profit nothing (Prov 10:2)
GOD’S COMMAND ON USURY AND PROFITEERING
If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. (Ex 22:25; also see Lev 25:36-37, Deut 23:19);
Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive yards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. (Neh 5:11)
Zacchaeus knew that despite all he had acquired through false means that he lacked, hence his unquenchable thirst to meet the Lord. Also knowing the consequence awaiting him, he declared his interest to pay back all stupendous ill-gotten wealth. Know that the proceeds from usury are useless, and profiteering profits nothing. At first it may appear like you have got abundant wealth, but come to think of it, when no meaningful achievement could be shown for it. It vanishes like a vapour and makes the person more miserable without him realizing what is happening.
THIS SIN OPERATES ON THE PRINCIPLE OF “THE MORE THE ACQUISITION, THE LESS THE ACHIEVEMENT”. Learn from Zacchaeus. Repent and believe the gospel.