James encouraged generosity, patience, prayer, and complete dependence on God.
12. Rebuke of the ungodly rich
As an encouragement to these Jewish Christ-followers who fled Jerusalem because of religious persecution, James pens a rebuke of the ungodly rich employers now causing them to suffer.
God, the Lord of heavenly armies, hears the cries of the poor, abused, neglected, and defrauded.
“You have condemned and ruined innocent men in your career, and they have been powerless to stop you.” (v. 6 J.B. Phillips NT)
The rich and powerful are the most likely to live independently of God.
Use legal means to commit fraud or get themselves off the hook.
Manipulate the financial markets.
Use their wealth to lavish themselves, their friends, and their families with luxuries and extravagance rather than relieve the suffering of others.
Often those who are poor and without power in this world have little satisfaction from justice. Yet God hears their cries, and He is the one who guarantees to ultimately right every wrong and answer every injustice.1
Some fuel the sex trafficking trade and exploit the vulnerable who need their influence and backing.
Bribe crooked politicians or inspectors to act in their favor.
Pass laws that benefit special interest groups.
13. Meanwhile, be patient.
Establish our hearts
Don’t grumble – James encourages them regarding the evil rich who will steal to get an advantage over believers.
Simply say “yes or no” and be a man or woman of our word.
Jeremiah is one example of someone who endured mistreatment with patience. He was put in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:2), thrown into prison (Jeremiah 32:2), and lowered into a miry dungeon (Jeremiah 28:6). Yet he persisted in his ministry.
While reading this passage, I realize the world’s mindset—insist others treat me correctly—persists in my thinking. Even if I don’t speak up or demand better treatment, I get offended.
14. How to endure persecution patiently
Instead of complaining, when I’m suffering from ridicule or illtreatment by the ungodly, pray for them.
Get into the presence of the Lord, and I will find fullness of joy and pleasures beyond my persecution. (Ps 16:11)
When I’m feeling cheerful, sing praises. If I’m discouraged, sing songs of praise anyway and cheer myself up. “A cheerful heart makes good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Pray for the sick, anointing him with oil [symbolic of the Holy Spirit] in the Lord’s name.
Earnest, faith-filled prayers heal the sick.
Sometimes, there is a link between sin and sickness. Humbling ourselves and confessing our sin and sincerely turning from that sin breaks the link.
Confession to another in the body of Christ is essential because sin will demand to have us to itself, isolated from all others. Confession breaks the power of secret sin. Yet, confession need not be made to a “priest” or any imagined mediator; we simply confess to one another as appropriate. Confession is good, but must be made with discretion. An unwise confession of sin can be the cause of more sin.1
We aren’t that different from Elijah. He got supernatural results when he prayed earnestly.
Pray earnestly, fervently for revival and an end to Covid-19.
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2 AWM Living Commentary
Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 29 Day 5
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