Friday, 19 September 2014
No Days Off? James 4:13-5:20
Happy Memorial Day. I hope you’re still in your pajamas.
Pour yourself another cup of coffee. Put on a movie for the kids. Let the dog out or the cat in.
There. Now let’s sit and visit for a minute.
We’ve been traveling through the book of James together for five weeks. Before we plunge into the 6th and final week, let your mind wander back over the landscape. What stood out to you? What did you tuck away in your back pocket for later use?
Food For The Road
James serves up food for the road. He’s the perfect companion for our pilgrim journey. He speaks in sound bites:
- But be doers of the word and not hearers only
- Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
- Resist the devil and he will flee from you
Those are some of the words that stuck with me. I tend to remember the commands. Practical James appeals to practical me. Most days I’m not in my pajamas very long. I get up, get clean, and get going. While packing my snacks and lunch, I toss in a few commands for good measure.
That’s not a bad thing. We are meant to treasure every one of God’s words, including his commands. They are meant for our good. But they’re not meant to be the only thing we take away.
Look At That View!
Practical as he is, even James seems to stop at times and admire the view. Since we’re not rushing out the door today, let’s stop with him.
For me the highest peak in this book is found in James 1:17 (and 18 which flows from it):
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Ponder that. Look around at the good gifts you see. Your favorite chair. The steaming scent coming from your mug. The food in your pantry.
Then look up. The good God–the Father of lights–is the good giver of every good gift. He is the perfect giver of every perfect gift. He is the Father of every light we see around us–both the sun, moon, and stars, and the light of his children which v. 18 talks about. But unlike those lights–which rise and set, dim and flicker, fade and burn out–he doesn’t change.
He is always light. He is always good. Commentator Alec Motyer writes:
The Creator is, in all this, unlike his creation. He never changes his position; he never alters either the fact or the intensity of his outshining goodness.
Let’s revel in this truth on a day of rest. Today is the perfect day to stop and enjoy the view of our good God who never changes. Everything James tells us to do or not do must be seen from this mountain top.
No Days Off For Him
Tomorrow we’ll get back to work. Back to our study, too. What does this truth about God mean to us on a work day?
God is good. All the time. His goodness doesn’t take a day off. Whether we’re resting or working, repenting or sinning, prospering or suffering, he’s always sending good gifts to you and me for each days needs. Count on it.
You can use lesson six of our study guide or the questions below:
- James uses the words “come now” to introduce two sections of his letter. Why does James warn the people in 4:13-17? What are they doing? Assuming? Forgetting?
- The people in James 5:1-6 didn’t heed his warning. What did their proud planning bring them?
- What view of God does James offer to correct our pride? (See James 4:15 and 5:4.)
- How many times does James use the words “patience, wait, steadfastness” in 5:7-12? How does he encourage us to be patient (5:7, 8, 9, 10, 11)?
- How many times does James use the word “pray” or “prayer” in 5:13-18? Who is doing the praying in each mention?
- How does James conclude his letter in 5:19-20? How is this both challenging and encouraging to you?
Enjoy your week. We’ll wrap up on Friday!