Paul Kretzmann Commentary - James 5:7 - 5:11

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - James 5:7 - 5:11

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Admonition to patience:

v. 7. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and latter rain.

v. 8. Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

v. 9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned; behold, the Judge standeth before the door.

v. 10. Take, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord for an example of suffering affliction and of patience.

v. 11. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.

Probably the thought of the uncomplaining patience of the righteous under the ill treatment of the wealthy caused the apostle to add this paragraph concerning the patience which the believers should show at all times: Be patient, then, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Patient, uncomplaining endurance should characterize the Christians at all times. For it is only for a short while that they are obliged to suffer. One fact always is held before their eyes, namely, that their Lord is coming, that He will surely return in glory. Yet a little while, and He that is coming will come, and will not tarry, Heb_10:37.

The apostle refers to the example of the farmer: See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the land, having patience with regard to it until he receives the early and the late rains. If there is anyone whose labor necessitates a great deal of enduring patience, it is the man that depends upon the soil for a living. He realizes how fully mankind is dependent upon the Lord for food. He puts his seed into the land which he has prepared, patiently biding his time in order that he may receive his reward in the form of a plentiful harvest. In Palestine he knew that his success rested upon the timely falling of the former or autumnal rains, which, after the hot summer months, brought the land into a condition where it could be cultivated, and of the latter or spring rains, in April, which aided the crop in maturing. So all his labor was a matter of patient waiting.

This example the Christians should follow. Have patience also you; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Patient endurance should be the keynote in the lives of the Christians. Times innumerable their hearts are on the verge of growing faint and of giving up the apparently unequal struggle. But with help from above they find themselves able again and again to strengthen and confirm their hearts. For that thought upholds them, that the coming of the Lord to Judgment is near, that His return means everlasting bliss for them. There is only a short time of waiting, and then the harvest will be gathered with joy ineffable.

Meanwhile they should heed what the apostle tells them: Murmur not against one another, brethren, lest you be judged; behold, the Judge stands at the doors. The apparent delay of the Lord in returning according to His promise has caused many people to give way to impatience, to make invidious comparisons between their own lot and that of others, and to begrudge the greater happiness of others. A behavior of this kind, being altogether out of harmony with the Word of the Lord and with the disposition which He expects in them that are His own, will call forth His condemnation upon the guilty ones. For those that by patient continuance in well-doing wait for His coming, salvation is near, but for those that are full of envy toward others and spend their time in nursing their supposed grievances it is the Judge, the righteous Judge, that is coming. He is even now standing at the door, and His entrance to Judgment is only a matter of a short time, controlled largely by the fact of His merciful love for the fallen whom He is striving to gain for eternal salvation.

There are also examples of the saints of old which may well encourage and strengthen the believers: As an example of the suffering of evil and of patience, my brethren, take the prophets that spoke in the name of the Lord. See Heb_11:1-40. Most of the prophets of old, although they were engaged in preaching in the name of the Lord, in bringing to their countrymen the wonderful message of the coming Messiah, yet were subjected to many kinds of persecution; they were obliged to bear evil in many forms. They may, therefore, well serve as examples of patience and endurance which we should always keep before the eyes of our mind. If the Lord gave them strength to endure the manifold afflictions which came upon them to the end, He will be at our side also with His comfort and with His power.

And there is another point that deserves mention: Behold, blessed we consider sufferers that did endure. Of the patience of Job you have heard, and the end of the Lord you know, that very compassionate is the Lord and full of pity. Job was a favorite example of patience among the Jews of all times, as he is today. Christians should remember that we commonly, and rightly, ascribe blessedness, the happiness of salvation, to those that endured to the end. See Mat_5:11. With the story of Job-the readers of this letter were familiar; they knew the end and purpose of the Lord with regard to this patient sufferer. It was just in his history that one point became so emphatically apparent, namely, that the Lord is so very compassionate with regard to them that are His own, that His heart yearns in pity and mercy for His children. Thus there is both comfort and strength in this allusion for the Christians of all times.