Continuing in our study of the book of James, we look at 5:7-12.
7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ”Yes” be yes, and your ”No,” no, or you will be condemned.James 5: 7-12
Why is James telling them to be patient until the Lord’s coming? And what does the farmer’s patience have to do with waiting on the Lord?
I think that James wants to warn people to be diligent in the way they live as they wait for the Lord’s return. He tells them to stand firm in their convictions, possibly even when other people ridiculed them for it.
James encourages them to not complain about each other. We need to find the good in each other. Criticizing others will cause us to be judged, but I think he wants to encourage us about what happens when Jesus comes back and redeems us. He talks about Job and how he persevered through all that he lost. But he was rewarded because of his faithfulness.
Verse 12 seems like it doesn’t belong in this passage. It stands alone and I almost skipped over it’s message, but as I dug deeper into studies on it, I realized it’s importance. In the Old Testament, it became a common occurrence to swear by something. There was a system of grading that indicated the seriousness of the oath.
For example, by swearing byJerusalem or by the temple were seen as non-binding promises. But swearing by the gold of the temple or the utensils used within were considered fully binding. Non-binding oaths were a way to avoid telling the truth. But, James explains that Jesus had a different way of viewing promises. It was either ”yes” or “no.” Any other way comes from Satan, the liar.
Christians are held to a higher standard. If we think ”white lies” are okay, doesn’t that go against what Jesus says? How can we claim to know the Word of truth if we don’t model it to the world? We should always be truthful or people will question our Christianity. Lying tarnishes what it means to be a Christian.
So, even though this verse seems not to have much importance, on closer inspection, it is quite important. And it’s what we should strive toward. Truthfulness is after all an important character trait and one to be sought after.
I find with each verse, that James was a wise man and offered much encouragement in the way we should live. We will finish this study in a few more days, so be sure to check back soon or follow this blog by liking it.