“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.” James 5:7-8.
“Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” James 5:9.
James 5:7-8 is shown here to maintain context only, these verses were covered in the last post on 11-26-20. We will examine James 5:9-12 in this study.
The thought here is not to complain about each other. And complain we do, often these complaints come from, slanderous gossip, misunderstandings, jealousy, or just plain dislike.
“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer [gossip or slanderer], strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.” Proverbs 26:20-22
The point is that we are in no position to judge another and that grumblings cause a rift in the church the body of Christ, all of which we will give an account of to the ultimate Judge, Christ Himself.
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Romans 14:10.
Even our Lord Jesus Christ gives a heads-up on this matter in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Judge [condemn] not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5.
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 14:7-13.
One expositor, John Gill even goes so far as to say, we should not even be grumbling inwardly, never mind saying it aloud.
He is right, if you harbor hatred or anger in your heart, it comes out in one way or another. Whether it is in prejudicial treatment of another, ignoring them when they are in trouble, even your eyes will show your hatred or dislike for your brother or sister.
“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.” James 5:10-11.
We are enjoined to have patience when persecuted by evil rich men and their like, we are asked to have patience with one another, now we are asked to have patience in enduring suffering, having Job as an example.
Job is an extreme case for us to consider, with the loss of his belongings, and his children, Job replied.
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.
And finally, upon losing his health, he says in reply to his wife’s anguished call for him to curse God and die.
“But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10.
It would be nice to be able to respond to trouble as Job did; but at the very least it would be good if we just determined not complain as though God were the enemy, blaspheming the One who seeks only our good. For it says in James 5:11 that, “…the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
“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.” James 5:12.
Granted, you have to swear to tell the truth in a courtroom due to legalities, but beyond that, what is the purpose? If this verse sounds familiar it is because you have probably read it before in our blessed Lord Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:33-37.
One thought on the meaning of these verses is that because the oaths, under the law, made in the name of the Lord were binding and of such a serious nature that people began to think that other types of oaths were not serious enough to be binding or truthful, and were made in a frivolous or disingenuous hypocritical manner.
The simple yes and no answers are meant to change this.
In the past many of us have run into people who will say, “I swear to God I saw this, or heard this, or did this!” “I swear to God this”, “I swear to God that”, I swear to God until the words mean nothing at all.
The truth is that the truth has come to mean nothing true and an oath has again come to mean whatever truth a person happens to need at the moment.
Few things gain or maintain integrity better than a simple “Yes I will do this”, and then doing it, or a, “No I will not do this”, and then holding to that word.
As the last sentence in Matthew 5:37 indicates if you go beyond yes and no, you move into the territory of the evil one. That, of course, is one reason we study Scripture, to stay out of the clutches of the devil.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” I Peter 3:8-12.
The Judge is at the Door, James 5:9-12 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 10-12-11, updated on 11-30-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.