In chapter 5, verses 1-6, James condemned the wealthy who abuse their wealth and power by oppressing the poor and the weak. In verses 7-12, he addresses the oppressed sufferers who were becoming impatient in suffering. He says, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord” (7).
Why did he advocate patience in suffering? Because when we are impatient in suffering:
- We lose hope
- We lose faithfulness
- We lose blessing
James therefore gives his readers three good examples to help them be patient in suffering
BE PATIENT LIKE A HOPEFUL FARMER (7-8)
- The farmer waits for a rewarding harvest (7): “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”
- Wait for the rewarding return of Christ (8): “You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
- Wait without grumbling (9): “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”
As the farmer waits patiently and hopefully for his crops coming, so wait patiently and hopefully for Christ’s coming. If you grumble, you’ll be judged, but if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded.
I’m waiting patiently for his return, but what should I do in the meantime?
BE PATIENT LIKE A FAITHFUL PROPHET (9-10)
- The patient prophets spoke in God’s name (10): “Prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
- Follow the example of the prophets (10): As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets.”
Suffering makes us speak against the Lord, but patience helps us to speak for the Lord.
What’s the point of all this? Can any good come of it?
BE PATIENT LIKE BLESSED JOB (11-12)
- Like Job be steadfast in suffering (11a): “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.”
- Like Job, show God’s purpose/character (11b): “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
- Like Job, don’t curse God (12): “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”
Don’t curse in suffering, if you want blessed in suffering.
Do you see how much good can come out of suffering?
LIVING THE BIBLE
Be patient like a hopeful farmer, the faithful prophets, and blessed Job.
PRAYING THE BIBLE
God of patience, you are so long-suffering and slow to anger. We see this especially in the life and sufferings of your Son, Jesus Christ.
While suffering in unimaginable ways at the hands of the rich and powerful, he was patient like a hopeful farmer, patient like the faithful prophets, and patient like blessed Job.
We confess that impatience in suffering often makes us lose hope, lose faithfulness, and lose blessing.
Help us, therefore, to be patient like a hopeful farmer, like a faithful prophet, like blessed Job, and, above all, like your perfect Son. Amen