Lesson 29r. The Practice Of Endurance (James 5:7-11) PART 2
by John Lowe
Perhaps many expected that the judgment would occur at that time, and that the Saviour would set up a personal reign on the earth. But the expectation of others might have been merely - what is indeed all that is necessarily implied in the predictions on the subject - that there would be after that a rapid and extensive spread of the principles of the Christian religion in the world. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple would contribute to that by ending the whole system of Jewish types and sacrifices; by convincing Christians that there was not to be one central rallying-point, thus destroying their lingering prejudices in favor of the Jewish mode of worship; and by scattering them abroad through the world to propagate the new religion. The Epistle was written, it is supposed, some ten or twelve years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and it is not improbable that there were already some indications of that approaching event.
9. DON’T GRUMBLE (“groan, grieve”) AGAINST ONE ANOTHER, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, OR YOU WILL BE JUDGED. THE JUDGE IS STANDING AT THE DOOR!
From v. 8, it appears that the Judge here, unlike 4:12, is Christ (Mat. 7:22-23; Jn. 5:22). AT THE DOOR: Mat. 24:23 10; Mk. 13:29; Rev, 3:20).
DON’T GRUMBLE (“groan,” “grieve”) AGAINST ONE ANOTHER, -- The Greek word for grumble (means, “to sigh”, “to groan”) is used for persons in distress (Rom. 8:23)11; and then to sigh or grieve) or groan through impatience, fretfulness, ill-humor; and hence “to murmur, to find fault, to complain.” The exact idea here is, not that of grudging in the sense of dissatisfaction with what others possess, or of being envious; it is that of being fretful and impatient - or, to use a common word which more exactly expresses the sense of grumbling. This may arise from many causes; either because others have advantages which we have not, and we are discontented and unhappy, as if it were wrong in them to have such enjoyments; or because we, without reason, suppose they intend to slight and neglect us; or because we are ready to take offence at any little thing, and to “pick a quarrel” with them. There are some persons who are always grumbling. They have a sour, dissatisfied, discontented temper; they see no excellence in other persons; they are displeased that others are more prosperous, honored, and beloved than they are themselves; they are always complaining of what others do, not because they are injured, but because others seem to them to be weak and foolish; they seem to feel that it becomes them to complain if everything is not done precisely as in their estimation it should be. It is that this spirit - the offspring of pride - will make any man lead a wretched life; and equally needless to say that it is contrary to the spirit of the gospel. (Compare Luke 3:14 12; Philippians 4:11)
Lest ye be condemned - That is, for judging others with this spirit - for this spirit is in fact judging them. Compare the notes at Mat. 7:113.
Behold, the Judge standeth before the door - The Lord Jesus, who is soon to come to judge the world. See James 5:8.14 He is, as it were, even now approaching the door - so near that he can hear all that you say.
10. BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AS AN EXAMPLE OF PATIENCE IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING, TAKE THE PROPHETS WHO SPOKE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.
The prophets: Mat. 23:29-36; Ac. 7:52; Heb. 11:32-39; Spoke in the name of the Lord: i.e., as his representatives (Jer. 11:2115; Mat. 7:22, 14).
Take, my brethren, the prophets - That is, in your trials and persecutions. To encourage them to the exercise of patience, he points them to the example of those who had trod the same thorny path before them. The prophets were in general a much-persecuted race of men; and the argument on which the apostle relies from their example is this:
(1) that if the prophets were persecuted and tried, it may be expected that other good men will be.
(2) that they showed such patience in their trials as to be a model for us.
An example of suffering affliction - That is, they showed us how evils are to be borne.
11. AS YOU KNOW, WE COUNT AS BLESSED THOSE WHO HAVE PERSEVERED. YOU HAVE HEARD OF JOB’S PERSEVERANCE AND HAVE SEEN WHAT THE LORD FINALLY BROUGHT ABOUT. THE LORD IS FULL OF COMPASSION AND MERCY.
JOB’S PERSEVERANCE was a familiar subject, in the synagogue teaching (Job 1:2)16; 2:10; 13:15). WHAT THE LORD FINALLY BROUGHT ABOUT: i.e., the end that the Lord brought to all his trials (42:12-17). Some have referred this to the Lord’s death, but the decision is at variance with the context and gives the Lord two different meanings in the verse. Christ is not mentioned as an example, as He is in 1 Pe 2:21, probably because James has unbelieving Jews and believing in mind. Knowing suggested that the reason might be that James wished to keep before the eyes of his readers Jesus as the Lord of glory.
Verse 11 is the only place in the NT where Job is referred to, though he is quoted in 1 Cor. 3:19.