Verse 1 – Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!
James proclaims the worthlessness of riches, not the worthlessness of the rich. Today’s wealth will be worthless when Christ returns. Money is not he problem. It’s the love of money that causes people to oppress people in order to get more. This is a warning to all Christians not to adopt the world’s standards of money and riches.
Verse 2 – Your riches are corrupt and your garments are moth-eaten.
This verse is talking about “hoarded treasures.” The idea here is, they have accumulated in excess of what they need for their own use. Instead of sharing to help others, they keep it and it rots and rusts.
Verse 3 – Your gold and silver are corrupted, and their corrosion will be witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasures in the last days.
This verse refers to greed and will be the undoing of some.
Verse 4 – Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers.
Verse 5 – You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
Meaning: They lived in indulgence and what gratified them, while those who worked for them lived without and under their oppression.
Verse 6 – You have condemned, you have murdered the just, he does not resist you.
This is what dictators do. This is also what happened in Biblical days. The poor were not able to pay their debt, so they were thrown in jail or sold into slavery. The rich lived well; they had the fine houses and all the food they could ever eat, all the while the majority of the people starved.
Verse 7 – 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.
Verse 8 – You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Verse 9 – Do not grumble against one another brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
While living on this earth, some will suffer a long time. James says to be patient without grumbling against others or what has been done to you, also. God sees what others do to His children and will punish those who don’t repent. Sometimes the punishment will come in this life-time, some the next.
Verse 10 – My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
Verse 11 – 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.
Was Job tested to the fullest? Yes, and the Lord blessed him with double of whatever he had before the testing started. Did he get discouraged? Sure he did, just like we do when trying times hit. But please remember, if you are trusting and walking with God, you are exactly where you are supposed to be, “right now!”
Verse 12 – 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.
The habit of swearing by various things was a very common one among Jews. What James is saying is, we ought to be of the representation, that when we say yes or no people believe us. You shouldn’t have to convince them by saying, “I swear.”
Verse 13 – Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Verse 14 – Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Does the church you attend do this? So many have forgotten these verses that James wrote. They come into the house of God every week,with either spiritual or physical aliments, and no one calls for the elders to pray for them. I haven’t seen this done in years. What I see is a “hurry up,” let’s get this over with attitude, because another service has to take place and be on time.
You want to know why Christians of today are defeated, sick, and grown cold, it’s because no one takes the time to pray as a whole congregation should. Congregational prayer takes time and it can get loud and messy when people need deliverance. Nothing should take over seeing a person saved or the sick healed when we gather, with the exception of the gospel being preached.
Verse 15 – And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Now do you see why it is so important that we should pray? There is nothing that compares to the power of Christians praying over the sick to be healed. God says, “He will raise them up!” Then why is this not happening all over our churches today? One very good reason is because people know so little of God’s word and His character, that they don’t believe He will do it!
Verse 16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Do you see a connection between un-confessed trespasses and being healed?
Verse 17 – Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
Verse 18 – And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
In other words: We have the same ability to have the same faith that Elijah had, so use it! That same power lives in each Christian.
Verse 19 – Brethren, if anyone among you wonders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
Verse 20 – let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Clearly this person who has wondered from the truth is a believer. This is one who no longer is living a life consistent with their belief. They need to repent and if they refuse, we can’t help them. James urges Christians to help backsliders return to God by caring enough to pray with the.
The Book of James teaches us that our faith has to have hands and feet!