We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

Week 9 - Day 1

Read James 5:1-6, which focuses on the first group.

In chapter 4, James dealt with believers who needed to repent. Now, at the beginning of chapter 5, he turns to a group of people who do not follow Jesus. His words become far harsher—much like those of the Old Testament prophets announcing doom.

1. How are the attitudes of these rich people similar to the attitudes of the believers in 4:13-17?

2. James tells these rich to mourn and weep, words often used by the Old Testament prophets. Read these references and write down the reasons why the people were mourning and weeping.

3. How are Jesus' words in Lk. 6:24-25 similar to James' words to the rich?

Stronger Jeans (optional): Read about the sheep and goat judgment in Mt. 25:31-46 and consider how it relates to James, particularly his words in 5:1-6.

We saw James address some rich people within the congregation in 1:10-11, so we know that rich people can follow Jesus, although it is hard (Mt. 19:23). Sometimes the term “rich” is used to refer to those who are rich but who are unrighteous, living for themselves rather than for God; that seems to be the way that Jesus uses the term in these verses in Luke.

4. How does Ps. 37:16-17 relate to James’ warnings?

Tomorrow we will look specifically at the sins of the rich people addressed in James, but we don’t want to quit today without considering some application from these verses. Why would James speak to a group of unbelievers who would not even hear his message? Calvin suggested two basic reasons: 1) so that Christians would not envy rich people, and 2) so that Christians could bear the injustices of the rich, knowing that the day would come when God would right all wrongs.

5. Sharing Question: What do you envy about those who have more than you do? How does this passage help you with those feelings?

6. Responding to God: Spend time simply focusing on the fact that the day will come when God does right all wrongs. Thank Him that someday what seems very wrong about our world will be fixed. Write your thoughts and feelings below.


Twisting His Arm said...

Although I can be just as envious as the next gal, I normally don't envy other people's material wealth. I am totally cool with my $4 Wal-Mart shorts and used baby toys for my son. I can't stand spending a lot of money on material items unless it is for another person or for church. However, I can become slightly envious of other women’s spiritual walk. Some women just seem SO spiritual and I start feeling that something is wrong with me. Every time I feel this way, I think about a song by Chris Rice called 'Smell the Color 9'. He is saying that getting to know Jesus can be like smelling the color 9 (which is impossible in more ways than 1). It is comforting to know that a spiritual leader like Chris Rice also struggles with getting to know Jesus just like I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm the same with you, twisting his his arm, I sometimes get disappointed when I'm still working on the same problem from a year ago that I thought I had overcome. Whereas some people just seem to have learned their lessons from God and have moved on.

Sohl Gal said...

I think I have envy issues about more than just material things. The behaviors of another person's child, the responses from her spouse, etc. I want those things from my family. I just try to remember that God must be teaching me something from each of these behaviors I view as frustrations, and He will support me through them.