Passage: James 5
v1-6 - Since the next passage (v7-11) will be all about humility, this passage highlights a group of people that often struggle with humility: the rich. These verses portray a person who has crushed all sorts of others in pursuit of profit. In a sense, this person will be paying back what he stole for all of eternity.
v7-11 - Although these verses stand independently from the opening passage, James segues from the one to the other with the word "therefore" in v7 (translated 'then' in the NIV). The picture of the farmer patiently awaiting harvest is one we can readily identify with in SW Minnesota (especially since we know the relationship between the hard work of preparation and patiently waiting). James uses Job as an example of the blessing of patience.
v12 - This little sermon in a verse is a perfect example of how the book of James is structured: a bunch of short, independent sermons. This instruction on swearing doesn't necessarily go with the preceding verses, although we can see why James includes it where he does, since a humble, patient person is content to let their yes be yes and no be no.
v13-18 - We like to think that as a society we really suffered in 2020, but the people who were the first to read James' letter truly knew what it meant to suffer for their faith, so James gives them one more comforting lesson on the power of prayer. Be careful to interpret v15 correctly: last year's DIG DEEPER post will help you understand that James is not promising that all people who get sincerely prayed over will be healed. James finishes this section with an example from one of the Bible's most famous prayer warriors, Elijah.
v19-20 - James closes his letter with a short lesson on how we all have a responsibility to one another to keep each other from wandering back into a life of sin.
Old Testament References - Add even more value to your daily Bible reading by reading a related passage from the Old Testament
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize.
How would you respond to a person who used v1-6 to claim that all people who've accumulated wealth have done so by crushing others?
We live in a society that highly values continual improvement (higher yields, greater efficiencies, faster processes, etc). Is it possible to be patient and aggressive (in pursuing improvement) at the same time, and if so, how?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will give you the faith and patience to stand firm (v8)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Starting this Sunday - The REAL God sermon series