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. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 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.
The husbandman or farmer
The farmer plants the seed and prepares the soil but doesn’t reap a crop immediately. God sends the rain to water the soil and then comes the harvest. The farmers of those days were dependent on two ‘rains’. The ‘early’ rain came at planting time in October. The ‘latter’ rain came at harvest time in April or May. Without those rains, the farmer had no hope of raising a good crop.
But the farmer couldn’t force it to rain. All he could do was wait for the rains to come. He had to depend on the God who had ordained those rains to send them at the proper time.
Just as the farmer was to be patient, James instructs his audience to be patient. We too must trust God in times where we have no control. We can’t make it rain. But, we can trust God who created rain…to send the rain when the time is right. Until then we must be patient, knowing that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).
Their trials had made some of the Christians critical, and complainers emerged in the church. James reminds them that they are not to judge. Christ, the Judge, is at the door! He hears what is said. He will come quickly and make things right. Murmuring and complaining is a serious sin. If we would remember that Christ is coming, we wouldn’t complain and criticize.
James refers these Christians to the OT believers, who suffered yet left their trials with God and won the victory. The prophets suffered when they had done no wrong. They were harshly treated for declaring the word of God.
Think about how these men suffered! For over forty years, Moses had to endure complaining and grumbling people. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, was thrown into the mud of an empty cistern. Daniel was cast into a lions’ den. Zechariah, sealed his testimony with his blood, as he was put to death in the temple (2 Chr. 24:20–22).
James writes of the prophets to urge his readers to be patient when they themselves were suffering for doing good.
In verse 11, Job is his primary example. Job, was very devoted to the Lord, and very prosperous. The devil came along and suggested that Job was faithful only because he was blessed. If his blessings were removed, his devotion would vanish! The Lord allowed Satan to test Job. So he did! Job lost his family, his health and his possessions. In the end, Job still had his faith, proving the devil wrong.
Writing of Job and ‘seeing the end of the Lord’, James gives a wonderful testament for patience. In Job, ‘the end’ was to show ‘that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy’. By reminding his readers of Job, James was calling them to trust God. They were to have a good purpose even in the midst of circumstances that they didn’t understand.
Pastor Chance Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN