Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Father, may the wisdom of Scripture and sound reasoning guide me in the important decisions I have to make.
Read James 5:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
God allows tough situations in order to refine us and bring us closer to him. We should approach these times with a right attitude and seek wisdom from God.
Where better than James to check on whether what we have seen in the mirror of Scripture has changed us? We have considered where we can see current rule reflected in the mirror of the Davidic kings, those called as ancestors of the Messiah, but so often reflecting the opposite of what the Messiah should and would be. But where do we see ourselves? James has asked “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” (Jas. 4:1), and we have to answer that what causes fighting among the members of the Messiah’s kingdom today is very much what caused fighting all those centuries ago.
Verses 1-6 focus on riches. Chronicles has much about the riches of the Davidic kings: James accuses followers of the Messiah of being even worse than them. As we reflect on the misery coming to those who are selfishly rich, let us look at the Messiah. The treasures of the nations were brought to him (Matt. 2:11), but he had nowhere to lay his head. Where do we hoard wealth? He treats his workers with both gentleness and justice. Where might we display the harshness of Rehoboam? He gives us treasure that cannot rot. Where is our treasure? Verses 7-11 call us to perseverance. Rehoboam’s patience ran out. Will ours? If you’ve read ahead, you will know that Asa failed after his initial reforms and gave God’s treasure to a foreign king. Can we go on trusting in God’s good purposes? Like the prophet Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:5-8), James reminds us of God’s justice (4,9). Will we respond with humility? Here, at the end of his letter, James introduces the second coming of the Messiah. It is the assurance of the Lord’s presence and rule that can enable us to persevere.
What good did Solomon’s riches do him? For Israel? For the glory of God? How do these chapters encourage you as you await the full coming of the kingdom?
Father, may the way Jesus lived be an inspiration to me. I am grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit which enables me.
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