e mërkurë, 1 gusht 2007

James 5:1-12 (cont.)

Passage: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment.

Journal: The phrase "the patience of Job" relates to the perseverance of the servant and his hope in the compassion and mercy of the master. Job had material blessing beyond measure and God allowed Satan to take it all from him (including his health); yet, Job never blamed God for his misfortune and instead worshipped God in both plenty and want. He also repented "in dust and ashes" for he saw the impurity of self when confronted with the purity of God (Job 42). It is this clear sightedness that James seeks for his readers; an ability to endure the travails of the day because of the promise of tomorrow ("You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.") Indeed, God has great purpose in the suffering of His saints, as God had great purpose in the suffering of His son ("Indeed we count them blessed who endure.")

In the first six verses of this chapter, James condemned the wealthy that had compassion on few and faith in self. Today's verses are intended to comfort the poor, or those experiencing persecution by the rich, extolling them to have faith in God and compassion on others ("Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned."). He calls for perseverance, and uses the farmer, the prophets, and Job as examples of patience and steadfastness. The Judge of all things could pound His gavel at any moment, and the accused must be ready to give an account ("Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand . . . Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!"). The child of God must "establish [his] heart." There is a call to resoluteness here. Christ could come back today. Better yet, the child of God should live as if Christ IS coming back today. The gavel is raised, and the eternal hand is flexed. The eyes of yesterday, today and tomorrow are gazing about the courtroom. As His eyes fall on each of the accused, time will stop and each will step forward with the account of forever. Establish your hearts now, for the beating you feel is fading into eternity.