PATIENCE

 7Dear brothers and sisters, be patient {makrothymeō} as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

You, too, must be patient {makrothymeō} . Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience {makrothymeō} in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

11 We give great honor to those who endure {hypomonē} under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance {hypomonē}. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

INTRODUCTION

A huge part of life is waiting and learning to wait patiently. When I was a child, it was waiting for Christmas, then as a teenager, waiting to get my driving license. After that it was waiting to graduate college and seminary and get my first church. Today, I waited in a doctor’s office and then at the lab where I was to get blood work. Usually I carry reading material which I did today but I was so tired that I took a nap. I did wait patiently which is not my nature. I have a witness, my wife was with me.

Waiting has been a source of frustration in my life. I have been know to wait a specific amount of time and then get up and leave the doctor’s office. They value their time but they don’t value mine. I don’t like to be kept waiting when people are lazy or incompetent.

As Christians, we need to learn the discipline of waiting upon the LORD and for His return. The people James was writing to were poor Jews who were suffering at the hand of the unbelieving and wealthy Jews. When you are suffering affliction the way these poor Jewish Christians were suffering, you long for the day of the LORD’s return because you know He is going to set the record straight.

Life is not fair but being impatient about Justice will not help. People who get angry over the unfairness of life become bitter, they are like Scar on the Lion King. The unfairness of life made Scar vindictive and cruel.

James wanted to encourage his readers not to grow impatient with God. It does not pay to get impatient with God and run ahead of him. Eve did and you see what it cost her, her children and the entire human race. Moses grew impatient and it cost him a trip to the Holy Land. Abraham grew impatient and Ishmael was born, do I need say more. The world is in anguish today because of the sons of Ishmael.

James gives three illustrations to encourage believers to hang in there and not give up on their faith.

I. THE EXAMPLE OF A FARMER

  1. A harvest takes time. No crop produces overnight. The ancient Jews planted wheat and barley which are sowed in late fall and reaped in early Summer. There was a four month waiting time between sowing and reaping. Every farmer knows that it takes time to grow a crop and there has to be some patient waiting.
  2. A good harvest is well worth the wait. I love harvest time. When I retire, I plan to help my friends in Limestone county with the harvest. I am pretty sure they will allow me to bushhog the cotton stalks. I just want to be around the harvest. Next to Christmas, it is the most exciting time of the year. Good things are worth the wait.
  3. Farmers are dependent on rain. In ancient Israel, they had to have the fall rain to get the seed up and then the spring rains to help the grain mature. Farming has always been an act of faith and there will always be good years and bad years, depending on the weather. A farmer who doesn’t get the rain on a certain year does not quit farming, he waits for the next year.
  4. The growth and maturity of a crop is a process and it is a God thing. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos waters but it is God who gives the increase. Not all farmers believe in God but they should.

II. THE EXAMPLE OF THE PROPHETS

  1. What do farmers and prophets have in common? They both wait for a harvest, just of a different nature. The farmer is waiting on a harvest of grain: the prophet is waiting on a harvest of souls. One is a natural harvest and the other is spiritual but both require patience.
  2. Randolph Tasker believes that James is referring primarily to Jeremiah who was the “Old Testament Man of Sorrows.” Jeremiah was neither appreciated or popular. He had the unpleasant task of announcing Judgment and he was right on the money.  Even after time vindicated his message, he was still persecuted and finally stoned by a mob of angry Jews. The Jews have always been the number one persecutor of Jews. Through out the O.T. the rich Jews persecuted the poor which they continue to do until the present. Jesus was persecuted by Jews. Paul was persecuted by Jews. Jeremiah was persecuted by Jews, by his own religious community. He was arrested, beaten, tried as a traitor, imprisoned, humiliated in stocks, put in a muddy cistern and left to die and then forced to go to Egypt. The only people who tried to help Jeremiah were Gentiles.
  3. What keeps a man like Jeremiah going? Patience. He endure the present by looking to the future. He never gave up on God. He never quit.

III. THE EXAMPLE OF JOB

  1. Give it some thought: Satan wants to get us to be impatient with God, to curse Him and abandon our faith. This was exactly what he was attempting with Job.
  2. One bible scholar says that hypomonē cannot be translated into English, there is no word strong enough. Both words in James 5 that are translated by the KJV or AV as patience or two different words. Makrothymeō  [Ma-kro-thu-me-0] is a compound word which means “to be slow to get hot.” It is basically referring to temper and usually relates to other people. Hypomonē  [hu-po-me-no] is a compound word that means to “bear up under” or “to stay under.” It usually deals with circumstances. Some people get caught in a less than happy marriage: the devil tempts them to jump ship in pursuit of happiness. In most cases, I encourage them to stay under their present burden or hardship.
  3. Job was constant: day in and day out, he was the same. His integrity was off the charts–this is what made him unique. Job grew impatient with his friends and family but he never bailed out on God, he never cursed God and denied his faith. Satan predicted that Job would fall and deny his faith once his riches and healthh were taken but the whole thing back fired on Satan–Job became stronger in the faith. We cannot learn endurance if we have nothing to endure. Job refused to give into evil: he would not curse God nor deny his faith. He said in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
  4. Satan attacked our integrity and tries to undermine our faith. He wants to deceive us the same way he did Eve. We must follow Job’s example, not Eve’s.

CONCLUSION

What on earth does verse 12 have to do with this passage?

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

Actually it is simple: if the devil can destroy our integrity, he has completely destroyed our witness and influence.

  • Randolph Tasker: men should say what they mean and mean what they say.
  • Irasmus: Insincere speech leads to hypocrisy.
  • John Calvin: any avoidance of simplicity and directness in speech leads to dissimulation.

Men of integrity do not resort to subtlety; they do not try to out smart you with keenly crafted words. A person who is known for truth has a powerful witness. The honest man does not have to say much, just yes and no. The dishonest man covers his dishonest with many word and even oaths. This is what Peter did in the court yard of the high priest. His answer should have been a simple “yes” but he swore with an oath that He did not know Jesus.

Warren Wiersbe says: “What we do on earth is recorded in heaven and God keeps the books and He pays the interest.”

No form of insincere speech will pay dividends. In the end our words will judge us.

 

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