-The rich who live in self-indulgence and luxury are railed against as this last chapter in James’ short book begins. These are certainly not being doers of the Word and their riches are bringing misery and hardship on them in the last days as they’ve tried to hoard it for themselves by fraud. James says these are like fattened animals beefed up for the slaughter. They have condemned and murdered the righteous when they had no power and no voice to resist (James 5:1-6). *Application* The Word of God is against the luxurious stashing away of wealth. Instead, God desires for us to work hard, earn a great living, and share our bountiful blessings with others, especially those in true need. God is not against us making money and being prosperous, but He disdains the hoarding of it for our own selfish pleasures. Don’t be miserly and dishonest with your means. Don’t ever be afraid to give generously. Hold nothing back when He asks. Build true treasure in the Heavenly Kingdom (Luke 12:16-34).
-Now patience is considered as the main thrust of the next five verses (James 5:7-11). We should keep an eye on the coming of the Lord as we wait. This could have double meaning in its interpretation. One meaning is obviously His glorious return to earth when all is made right and the enemy is utterly destroyed for good and forever. The other meaning can deal with how the Lord shows up in our distress and aids us just when we need it the most in certain earthly situations. In either case, it is He who comes to us for our benefit and relief. Just like the patient farmer, which is an awesome illustration, we must establish our hearts by not grumbling against one another, plus we must withhold judgment. Again it is the Judge that stands at the door, and we are not to be so arrogant as to take that role in and of ourselves (James 4:11-12). In our suffering and patience remember the prophets who were tortured for their honesty and forthrightness, enduring the persecution with perfect fortitude and steadfastness. Job is also mentioned as a classic example for discovering the everlasting purpose of the Lord in difficult situations to demonstrate His compassion and mercy after allowing tests and trials. *Application* How patient are you? The question is one we don’t often like to think about in our fast paced, easy answer, quick solution world. There are times the Lord makes us slow down. Enjoy those periods of your life rather than fight them. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
-A quick word is given on swearing of oaths. The practical implication here is for our “yes” to yes, and our “no” to be no so that we do not fall into condemnation. In other words, give honest answers all the time, but do it in love (Ephesians 4:15).
-The prayer of faith is discussed now as the book begins its conclusion. If you are suffering, pray. If you are cheerful, sing praise to God. If you are sick, call on the elders of the church to have them pray over you and anoint you with oil in the Name of the Lord. “The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:15-16).” The prayers of the righteous has extraordinary power as it is working, just like Elijah of the Old Testament (James 5:13-18). *Application* Prayer is essential in the working out of our faith. To be a prayer warrior, you must do it. It is an action. Go before the Lord in full conviction and earnest. Lay everything bare before Him with confession and get things right. He will respond, you can count on that!
-The last section of this book deals with bringing back someone who has wandered off from the truth. “Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:20).” *Application* We are to obey Jesus’ teaching on leaving the 99 sheep to go out to rescue the lost one (Luke 15:3-7). Go into the highways and byways and compel people to come back to Christ and His saving grace (Luke 14:23). Be a soul winner. This will take action as well. It is not a passive thing y’all. I hope we all get James’ point, faith without works is dead (useless, James 2:20, 26).
Verse to memorize: James 5:8