A Soldier's Dream

James 5 Study

One morning in April of 2008 the Lord led me to read James 5. When I did, it really hit home for me, and I really felt in my spirit that it was for me, and others, for right now.

So, below is the first part of James 5, and some relevant verses, and a little bit of commentary.

Jas 5:1 COME NOW, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you.
Jas 5:2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten.
Jas 5:3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days.

Who is this talking about? I thought it was ok to be rich, as long as you don’t love money or serve mammon. It is. The verses that can lend interpretation to this is Matthew 6:19.

Mat 6:19 Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal.
Mat 6:20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal;
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

So, basically, the rich people in James 5 are people who to not have their hearts in the right place. The are heaping up treasures on earth, and it is becoming motheaten and rusted – and is thus bearing witness to where their hearts are! So, it’s not talking to Christians who are storing up treasures in Heaven.

Jas 5:4 [But] look! [Here are] the wages that you have withheld by fraud from the laborers who have reaped your fields, crying out [for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of hosts.

This is what really hit home for me. Many Christians are working for ungodly business owners. Many of these same Christians are loyal, hard working and dedicated workers, the ideal employee. And, many of these same Christians are Just Over Broke, J.O.B.

They aren’t being paid a fair or equitable wage. They don’t get decent raises or performance bonuses. Their employers are stingy and greedy. They are forced into debt, and can’t afford to quit. They aren’t able to give what they want to give, IE offerings or sometimes even not able to give tithes. Which, as you see in Malachi, when you withhold tithes and offerings you open yourself up to all kinds of problems – your pockets get holes in them (paraphrase – see Haggai 1:6) and money goes out faster than it comes in!

Mal 3:8 Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation. [Lev. 26:14-17.]
Mal 3:10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Mal. 2:2.]
Mal 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts.
Mal 3:12 And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

Haggai is addressing an issue where the Lord’s house was not being taken care of – IE people were not serving and tithing and giving offerings to support the temple (Hag 1:9).
Hag 1:2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say, The time is not yet come that the Lord’s house should be rebuilt [although Cyrus had ordered it done eighteen years before]. [Ezra 1:1-6; 4:1-6, 24; 5:1-3.]
Hag 1:3 Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Hag 1:4 Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house [of the Lord] lies in ruins?
Hag 1:5 Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways and set your mind on what has come to you.
Hag 1:6 You have sown much, but you have reaped little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you do not have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages has earned them to put them in a bag with holes in it.
Hag 1:7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways (your previous and present conduct) and how you have fared.
Hag 1:8 Go up to the hill country and bring lumber and rebuild [My] house, and I will take pleasure in it and I will be glorified, says the Lord [by accepting it as done for My glory and by displaying My glory in it].
Hag 1:9 You looked for much [harvest], and behold, it came to little; and even when you brought that home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of My house, which lies waste while you yourselves run each man to his own house [eager to build and adorn it].

God is noticing the withheld wages, and the fraud, wherever it may be. He hasn’t missed it, nor has he forgotten. James 5 is saying that just as God notices those who don’t tithe and give offerings, he notices the unfair employer who withholds wages and does not pay his people fairly.

Jas 5:5 [Here] on earth you have abandoned yourselves to soft (prodigal) living and to [the pleasures of] self-indulgence and self-gratification. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

How many CEO’s get multi million dollar bonuses or severance packages yet lay off thousands of workers? I’m not begrudging a leader of a company being paid well.  No, that is fantastic.  Where is his or her heart and how did they treat their employees? Do they all treat their employees, especially the people at the bottom, fairly?  Honor and respect your bosses and their bosses, if they don’t treat you fairly you should let God sort it out. James 5 says he is watching.

Jas 5:6 You have condemned and have murdered the righteous (innocent man), [while] he offers no resistance to you.

Murder? Not many employers are murdering their employees. But:

1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed over out of death into Life by the fact that we love the brethren (our fellow Christians). He who does not love abides (remains, is held and kept continually) in [spiritual] death.
1Jn 3:15 Anyone who hates (abominates, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding (persevering) within him.

And, I won’t even get into the whole thing about health benefits, insurance, medical procedures being denied or unaffordable which could lead to death.

People in Japan have been known to work themselves to death. Stress from job or lack of finances can lead to early death or health problems.

The verse in James says that the laborers do not resist. Does this mean they are showing honor to an unjust master? I think so, and that means that the laborers are in the right, and God is noticing that as well.

Jas 5:7 So be patient, brethren, [as you wait] till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. [See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains.

This is talking to the brethren now. The brethren is being equated to a farmer, who reaps and sows. The Bible says that a man only reaps what he has sown. The laborers earlier in James 5 are harvesting the field they do not own. They likely sowed the seeds and reaped the harvest – but it is not their harvest.

James 5:7 is talking about the brethren – THEY are the farmers working in their own fields – they keep that harvest. They have sown it, and the harvest is precious. That means to me that the seeds they sowed were very dear indeed. They put all they had into that dirt and are waiting for it. They need it greatly.  He watches intently.  They are having to wait patiently.

Deu 11:13 And if you will diligently heed My commandments which I command you this day–to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being–
Deu 11:14 I will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
Deu 11:15 And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, that you may eat and be full.

Jas 5:8 So you also must be patient. Establish your hearts [strengthen and confirm them in the final certainty], for the coming of the Lord is very near.

I believe that the latter rain is here. The time of the harvest is coming. The harvest of finances that have been sown. The open doors and windows to Heaven due to faithful tithing. The harvest of souls because of all the word that has been sown – God’s Word does not return void.

James 5 talks about the rich people with their treasure they heaped up becoming ruined.  Then, it talks about the farmer patiently waiting for the harvest.  The farmer has his seeds in the field, and they are growing, and the harvest will come.  There is no talk about the farmer having anything rusted or motheaten.  That tells me that the farmer is not affected by whatever is hurting the rich people.

This is the season of latter rain.  The harvest is coming in.  It is here.  Receive it.

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