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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Faith In Action-The Prophets Were Patient

faith in action

James 5:10,11

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


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

Previously we discussed the idea of enduring trials and even persecutions at the hands of others patiently as a way to follow the example of our God regarding how He has treated us. James has kindly provided us more examples of men who endured suffering yet endured it patiently.

Here we see the thought of enduring suffering, or evil, with great patience and long suffering. This is the same word for patience we have seen over and over, so specifically it refers to patience with and toward people. So, even more specifically we see a reference here to the Old Testament Prophets in the face of discouragement and even persecution.

Here it might be a good idea to look at just what the prophets were really doing. Sometimes we think they just sat around foretelling the future. While that was a part of the ministries of some of them, it was not the primary thing any of them did. I have heard the ministry of a prophet being sometimes two fold; foretelling and forth telling. Fore telling, or course, would be the revelations of future events. Forth telling would be simply the preaching and proclamation of God’s Word. That was, in fact, the primary mission of all of the Old Testament Prophets, much more so then telling of future events.

Take a few months and read through the Major and Minor Prophets.  It is easy to discern a pattern of response to their preaching. The pattern was, that in most cases there was no response. Imagine, if one can, preaching for years and years to multitudes with no one listening. That is just what most of the Old Testament Prophets faced.

The other pattern we see is that they never gave up, they never stopped, and notably they never stopped loving the people they preached to. How were they able to do this? James has told us, and the answer is patience. They were patient in The Lord. They knew who they were working for and who’s message they were spreading. They understood the rewards to come were far greater than the trials here.

So, what is our problem? Time after time we see men enduring great hardship and carrying on. Most were universally ignored, mocked and even threatened with death. None ever accumulated great wealth or riches. Yet they carried on. They were patient in The Lord. So, the question is: What’s our problem?

Faith In Action-Be Patient Again

faith in action

James 5:10.11

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


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

James is speaking here again of patience. Remember earlier, way back in Chapter 1, James began the text of his letter by talking about patience and how it matures us in our walk with The Lord. James may have begun touching on this revisit to patience in verse 7 while he was discussing not holding grudges. Some of his teaching there may have been to show that we should not allow the trials we face to cause us to act out towards our brethren, but to be patient in The Lord. As, we continue, he is obviously talking to us about being patient.

Once again, let’s take a quick look at a linguistic issue. The word translated patience commonly in the New Testament, and here as well has meaning other than what we might think. It combines a couple of words, long and temper to convey the one thought of patience. We are to be long-tempered; we are to be long suffering. The emphasis is on the idea of patience evidenced by an attitude of non retaliation. This means that, when faced with difficulties we are not to strike back in the direction we think they may be coming from. If we think other people are causing them, we should not strike back at them; if we think God is allowing or causing them, we should not strike back at Him. We should be long tempered, long suffering, and patient.

But that’s very difficult! Yes, indeed it is. It is also how God reacts to us. The following is from Vine’s Expository Dictionary regarding this word patient.

MAKROTHUMIA ( makros= long, thumos = temper) is usually rendered “long-suffering.” Long-suffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God. Exodus 34:6(Sept.); Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 3:20

Let’s think about this topic of long suffering and patience for a few moments. We are told to constantly look to the example of our Savior to guide our behavior. We are also to be long suffering and patient both in the face of difficulties and never use them as an excuse to strike out against others. Sometimes we think it is no big deal when we fail in this area.

But what if God was not long suffering and patient with us over history even in the face of our repeated rebellions against HIm and rejection of Him? What if Jesus had not been patient and long suffering in the face of the trials and suffering He endured on the Cross as He died to pay our penalty? Where would we all be now?

Faith In Action-Don’t Hold a Grudge

faith in action

James 5:9

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

It may seem that, as we head towards the finishing section of The Epistle of James, that James is bouncing around some from subject to subject. He introduces a new topic or two, but also seems to be recapping some of the territory he covered in the first four chapters.

In this verse, James seems to be reviewing some of the thoughts he had and points he made earlier in his writing, as again he is teaching about the ways in which we treat one another. He also seems to be tying in this thought with some of the thoughts earlier on impending judgment. It almost seems James is saying, “Ok, now remember just a minute ago I was telling you that you will be judged for how you treat your money? Well do you remember how we talked about being mean and holding grudges? Well, guess what? We will be judged for that too!”

The word here, grudge, is used in an interesting way. Apparently, in other places in The New Testament, it is translated to sigh and groan, and really just means the outward expression of a person who is troubled. When we see it combined in reference to how we engage with another person, it translates somewhat in the sense of murmuring and grumbling. Here, I will repeat something I have said before. I am NOT a Greek linguist; however, sometimes just digging a little in the original language pays really big dividends.

Conflict is inevitable. In any situation where more than one person is gathered, there will be differences. God made us different. People disagree and James is not teaching that to disagree is inherently bad. What, then, is he teaching?

It’ simple really. We are not to murmur, gripe and hold grudges against our brothers and sisters in Christ over our disagreements. Is this a serious matter? Well, The Holy Spirit inspired James to write clearly about the judgment in this matter. The judge is standing at the door, and condemnation for our attitude is looming.

This seems a good place to insert a comment made on another post by my Brother, ColorStorm

“Kinda hard to ‘draw nigh’ if I’m carrying a backpack of slander eh?”

That’s a good place to close and something to think about.

Faith In Action-Establish Your Hearts

faith in action

James 5:8

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


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

James here continues his teaching to the scattered believers to be patient in the face of trials and adversity, and to be patient and understanding that God has things under control.

He instructs them to stablish their hearts. Some translations use the word strengthen here. This word translated means to “make fast,””to establish,”or “to confirm.” What is it they are to establish their hearts in? They are to establish them in the hope and promise of The Lord’s return. The same word was used in Luke 9:51 as Jesus set his face steadfastly to return to Jerusalem, the entire time knowing that his death would result.

The believers James was writing to were facing intense persecution, trials, and troubles. We have seen quite a bit of discussion of that in the previous chapters. James is simply attempting to teach them to remember the basic fact that God has these trials, and all other things, firmly under his control. He wants them to understand that what they face in this life pales in comparison with the glory they will experience in God’s Kingdom in the future.

The gist of this lesson seems obvious, as James uses terms such as patience, endurance, and perseverance over and over in this section of his writing.

James 5:7 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.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

James 5:11 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.

Imagine, if you can, the patience and suffering Job endured as he watched his life shatter before his very eyes, yet he never lost his faith or love for God. Imagine, if you can, the patience of the Old Testament prophets as they preached to deaf ears and endured hate and persecution, yet they never lost their faith or love for God.

This lesson certainly applies to us. Perhaps it is more applicable to us, in the sense that compared to the believers of James’ time, Job, or the Old Testament prophets we really endure so little? How do we endure so little, yet as a church seem to have so little faith and love for God?

Faith In Action-Waiting for the Lord

faith in action

James 5:7

 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.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

James seems to be getting back on track here after what some consider to be a temporary diversion from counseling believers on Christian behavior. Clearly, now, he is back to talking to believers in the churches he wrote this letter to.

It is possible that his guidance over the next few verses was written in response to the things which had apparently happened to these believers in the previous ones. Guidance to those facing trials and hardships, and the ways we deal with them, is a recurring theme in the writing of James. We first saw James addressing patience in the face of adversity way back in James 1:4.

The way writers like James put things into language which his readers would instantly understand is very fascinating. In this case, James uses another agricultural reference to teach just how patient his readers should be. He also teaches in this description about the importance of both patience and proper timing. Of course, God’s timing is the actual reference, but proper timing is key.

In the agricultural season in the land at that time, two periods of rain were essential to a successful growing season. The early rains came in October or November around the beginning of the Fall planting season to help ensure the ground was ready for planting. The late rains would come in the March and April time frame, to provide a last dose of moisture prior to the harvesting season.

Just like the farmer knows that if he is patient, his crops will come, James is encouraging these believers to stand firm in the promises of God to come one day. Paul wrote similar encouraging words to the believers in the church at Galatia.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

What else can we learn from this passage? We can learn that not everything happens on our timing. In this case we can learn that, as the crops come according to biological timing, God’s plans come according to God’s timing.

Another thing we can learn here is that we are not in control of everything. The farmer certainly cannot make his crops do anything. They will do what they do, as long as the Farmer has done his part. That is very much the same as God, who will do His part as long as we do our part.

Faith In Action-Killing the Poor?

faith in action

James 5:6

 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

We won’t tarry long with today’s devotional, as we seem to be wrapping up James’ description of the wicked rich he has been addressing.

It does seem, somewhat, to be a final nail in the coffin of the description of the downward spiral of these men James is speaking to.

Were these folks literally killing the righteous poor? It doesn’t seem to be necessarily a literal description of murder being committed here. But in light of what we have studied so far it seems to indicate a heart condition for sure. Let us recap some. These folks have been hoarding their money uselessly: they have exploited believers for their own gain; now we see a sense that, if necessary, they would even kill to maintain what they have.

Finally in this verse, we see a closing note that, despite all of this, the believers in question seem to not be resisting or striking back against their oppressors. In light of the direction James takes next, this seems important.

Let’s end with this thought. Of course, God knows all things; this is purely a hypothetical question. If Jesus walked in our home or office and asked to see our financial books, what would we feel? Would we just open them up for view or would we feel a need to hide them?

Faith In Action-Race to Judgment

James 5:5

Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

Here James continues his condemnation of how the rich have amassed their riches and how they have also mistreated their fellow man in the process. His language here takes a real leap in terms of its descriptiveness of what is happening.

This description of living in wanton pleasure is more than simply men enjoying a lavish, pleasurable lifestyle. What we see here is a description of men diving head first into a driven pursuit of pleasure. Not only does this describe a wanton pursuit of pleasure, but it describes the wanton pursuit of pleasure derived at the expense of others. This is serious business.

Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Anyone who has any experience or knowledge of animal husbandry should easily see the connection which is being made here. What is done with animals destined to be slaughtered? They are always fed well and fattened up prior to that slaughter. Only in this case, the ones headed to slaughter are fattening themselves for their own slaughter!

Again, this speaks of the impending judgment coming to those to misuse their wealth. This seems to make the seriousness of this clear, as this is not a divine slap on the wrist which is coming; it is a slaughter in fact.  God’s Word compares the slaughter of animals with the judgment of man on other places in His Word.

Isaiah 34:5-8 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

Jeremiah 50:26,27 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left. Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.

Ezekiel 39:17-19 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.

As in past lessons. we could be looking at two different scenarios here. There is substantial discussion as to who exactly the wicked rich are James is addressing. Are they Godless non believers or are they believers seriously in rebellion against their God? It seems that the above language might strongly indicate these are non believers doing these things. They have been warned, admonished, and warned  yet more again. Despite these warning, they continue their lifestyle choices and judgment is imminent and will be harsh.

What about us? If we are believers, do we listen to God’s Word? Do we listen to the chastisement He may deliver for our transgressions? Are we listening to God’s fair and repeated warnings to turn from these things and return to Him?

If non believers the same question applies. Are we heeding God’s repeated and earnest warnings to us concerning our lives? Are we answering God’s call to repent and believe, or face the judgement?

Faith In Action-Ill Gotten Gain

faith in action

James 5:4

 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

We have been discussing what God wants from us in regard to the wealth He may have blessed us with. Our theme previously was the idea that God does not simply want us to to hoard and amass wealth for it’s own sake. God blesses us with riches for specific uses. If God has blessed us this way, it is because He has something He wants us to be doing with that money.

Not only does God care what we do with our money, God cares how we GET our money. Specifically here James is speaking to those who are amassing riches by exploiting and taking advantage of those less fortunate than them. Even more specifically, he is talking about building wealth by not paying people who had done and honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

Day labor was a very common thing during the days when James was writing this Epistle. During the busy days of farming, such as the sowing or harvesting season, it was very common for land owners to hire laborers to do the work they could not do themselves. It was also, unfortunately, common for these laborers to be cheated out of their fair wages. Here we see the reference is to the reaping, or harvesting season. The point there is that this was not an issue of a landowner merely not having the cash flow to pay his workers. The funds to pay were available, as the income producing product was right there being harvested. This was not a delay in payment, or a lack of cash flow. This was a deliberate, intentional default on payment. As the text says, this payment was “kept back by fraud.”

Furthermore, God was, and is not, pleased by this type of economic gain. God has heard the cry of those who have been cheated, and judgment is coming. Their cries have been heard by “The Lord of sabaoth.” This would  be the Lord of hosts, or the Lord of the armies of Heaven. In our terms, these cries would have been heard by the Supreme Commander, or Commander in Chief. In other words, they have been heard by He who has the power to do something about it. This description of supreme power is given to reinforce the thought that judgment for this activity is forthcoming, perhaps even imminent.

The lesson here could be directed towards the exploitation of the poor. This is not all God has revealed to us on this topic.

Leviticus 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Deuteronomy 24:14,15 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.

Jeremiah 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;

This lesson could be on God’s general displeasure with ill gotten gain.

Proverbs 1:19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

Proverbs 10:2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

There is vast relevance of this lesson to today. How often to we actually consider whether or not the ways we earn our money are ways which would be pleasing to God?

Faith In Action-Who Our Wealth Belongs To

faith in action

James 5:2,3

Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

Today will be the last day we linger on money and wealth, at least for now. It only seems fair, since God puts some emphasis on the subject, that we do as well. What have we covered so far?

God does not oppose wealth; in fact, He often blesses individuals with it.

God does not oppose planning wisely for the future.

God does not expect us to socialistically  redistribute our wealth to the segments of society who don’t have as much as we do.

He does expect us to use our blessings to aid others as individuals and churches.

God does oppose the useless and selfish hoarding our wealth.

It might seem confusing, then, what God expects us to do with our wealth and riches. The answer is actually quite simple, and it has two parts.

Part one. It’s actually NOT ours; it is His. If we have it, it is only because He gave it to us and allowed us to have it.

Part two. Like our lives in general, God want us to do one  simple thing with any wealth we might have: His wishes and for His honor and glory.

God’s plan for our money is the same as His plan for our lives in general. There is no one answer, as His plan for each life is different. They key is that we simply remember that it is His, and His will concerning it is what counts.

1 Chronicles 29:3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,

Mark 12:42-44 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

2 Corinthians 9:4-14 Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Let’s recap. It’s God’s money, not ours; we are only His stewards for it. Even though He may bless us with it for our enjoyment, it is primarily for His use: Furthering His work, winning the lost, caring for those who need caring for, and supporting the ministry of Our Lord. In short, whatever God calls you to do with it.

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