James 1:9-11 | Part 4
James 1:9-11 CSB 9 Let the brother of humble circumstances boast in his exaltation, 10 but let the rich boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field. 11 For the sun rises and, together with the scorching wind, dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance perishes. In the same way, the rich person will wither away while pursuing his activities.
Before we approach any of the writings of the Bible, it is important that we ask 2 questions:
Who wrote it? (Author)
Who was it written to? (Original audience)
Bad interpretation can be dangerous for you & for those around you.
1 Timothy 4:16 NIV Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Good interpretation = good doctrine = SAFETY = knowledge of the one, true God
So, WHO wrote the book of James?
his name was not James
His name should’ve been translated “Jacob”
The English name, James, translated from the Latin, didn’t even exist until the 1200s
In the 1300s, John Wycliffe translated the entire Bible into English for the first time
From the Latin, Wycliffe translated the name “Iakobus” as James
The name stuck
Every future English translation used “James” as the name of Jesus’s half-brother
In 1611, King James I paid for the translation of the “Authorized Version”
The Authorized Version is called the King James Version to this day.
So…Jesus’s half-brother was not named James.
His name was Ya’akov, which is translated into English as Jacob.
So…who was he???
Jacob was a prominent leader of the original church in Jerusalem
Jacob stuck it out & stayed in Jerusalem…enduring much persecution & a terrible famine
He was eventually martyred for his faith in Jesus, his half-brother, claiming that He was indeed the Messiah, the son of God
Some say that Jacob was the most “Jewish” of all the apostles
He is mentioned in Acts 15 and Galatians 1-2
WHO was Jacob writing his letter to?
James 1:1 CSB James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the twelve tribes dispersed abroad.[a] Greetings.
Written to Jewish Christians living far from Jerusalem (dispersed)
But the letter is also written in such a way that it provides wisdom for any & all disciples of Jesus.
V2 | consider it great joy when you face trials
V3 | the testing of your faith produces endurance
V4 | let endurance make you mature & complete (whole, undivided)
V5-8 | Are you having a difficult time understanding why you’re going through these trials?
Ask God for wisdom
He will give HIS wisdom generously
He won’t hold it against you
But don’t doubt His character.
Don’t doubt His sovereignty.
Don’t doubt His goodness.
Don’t be double-minded or divided.
Jacob knew that the most common trial for the majority of his audience was poverty.
Jacob wanted to give them God’s perspective regarding their poverty…
Jacob wanted to invite them to trust God even in the hardship (remember endurance?)
James 1:9-11 CSB
9 Let the brother of humble circumstances boast in his exaltation, 10 but let the rich boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field. 11 For the sun rises and, together with the scorching wind, dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance perishes. In the same way, the rich person will wither away while pursuing his activities.
If I’m poor…then I’m blessed!
Matthew 5:3 CSB “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Luke 6:20-26 CSB 20 Then looking up at his disciples, he said: Blessed are you who are poor, because the kingdom of God is yours. 21 Blessed are you who are hungry now, because you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Take note—your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets. Woe to the Self-Satisfied 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are now full, for you will be hungry. Woe to you[c] who are now laughing, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you[d] when all people speak well of you, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets.
People who are poor are blessed because they understand their need.
The Beatitudes are NOT a religious checklist.
This is the reality of what much of this life will be like for those of us that follow Jesus.
And what about the RICH?!!
WHAT are we pursuing?
WHO are we pursuing?
Where does our confidence come from?
Where do we find our identity?
If we are spending more time thinking about our money & our things & the things we don’t yet have than we are thinking about God & the things of God & God’s kingdom…
Jesus is clear in Luke’s gospel…Woe to us.
We’re gonna get to the end of this life & realize…we wasted our time.
Luke 12:15-21 CSB 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Let us be a people that are rich toward God.
Let us be generous with our time and our talents and our treasure (our resources)
Don’t be deceived by the false security of riches.
Most of us are living pretty different lifestyles than these 1st-century Jewish Christian refugees
We will most likely never know poverty like they did
Our trials are different.
But we still endure hardships.
Many of us are experiencing constant suffering.
Pain. Grief. Loss. Sickness. Depression.
James 1:9-11 CSB 9 Let the brother of humble circumstances boast in his exaltation…
Let us trust God in the suffering.
Let us boast!