James 5:7-11 • September 3, 2023 • s1360
Pastor John Miller teaches a topical message through James 5:7-11, “Patient Till Christ Comes.”
5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Verse seven, James says, "Be patient therefore, brethren." Now you're going to find the repetition of that word, be patient. Actually it appears from verse seven to 11, five times. So it kind of tells you what the subject matter is. "So be patient, therefore brethren into the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman or the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and have long patience." There it is again. "For it until he received the early and the latter reign. Be ye also patient. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord draws nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge stands at the door. Take my brethren, the prophets who spoken in the name of the Lord for an example of suffering, affliction, and patience. So behold, verse 11, we count them happy, which endure. You've heard the patience," there it is again, "of Job which you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful or actually compassionate and full of tender mercies.”
Now in this text, James is actually addressing the saints. In verses one to six of chapter five, he is speaking to the wicked wealthy. And I pointed out last Sunday that it's not because they were wealthy, that they are indicted. It's because they were wicked. So they got their wealth by evil means and they use it for selfish gain. So he's speaking in verses one to six to the wicked wealthy about God coming to judge them as a prophet condemning them. Now he begins to speak directly to the brethren. But verses one to six were for the benefit of the brethren that they knew that God would judge the wicked wealthy. But now he directs his words directly to the brethren. "Be patient, therefore, brethren," verse seven. Notice who he's speaking to. Now when he uses the word brethren in verse seven, he's not just talking to the men. That's a generic term for the believers, the Christians, the brethren, which includes sisteren as well, brothers and sisters in Christ. So he is talking to now the believers.
And five times, as I mentioned, he used the word patient or patience in five verses. He also uses the word brethren five times. Verse seven, verse nine, verse 10, verse 12. We'll get it next week in verse 19, he's speaking to the brethren. And then our text he also refers three times to the coming of the Lord. And we'll look at those as well. So here's our theme. Here's the big picture. Preachers like to call it the big idea. What's the big idea of this passage? We want to be faithful to the text, is that the Lord is coming back and He will take vengeance on the wicked and he will vindicate the righteous. So brothers and sisters be patient. Now some of you're saying, "Okay, that's great. Great sermon. Finish it right there. Let's go home. I'm hungry." And we could do that right? I read the text, I explained the text and one kind of big idea. But we're going to pick it apart and we're going to unpack it phrase by phrase as we go through this text. But I wanted you to see the big idea.
Now notice he says, "Be patient." Now what does he mean to be patient? Now whenever I hear the word patience, I get impatient. And not only do I get impatient, I get a little agro. I'm being impatient. The last thing I want to hear someone say is, "Don't be impatient." I'll stop right there. One of my pet peeves is when I'm at a red light in an intersection, I'm the first one at the intersection, people behind me. And the light turns green and immediately someone behind me honks the horn. It just turned green. I do not have time to take my foot off the brake and put it on the accelerator. I can't tell you how tempted I am to put it in a park. To get out, to go back. Who's ever honking the horn say, "Is there something wrong with your horn?" That's dangerous to do today in our world? Amen. And I'm afraid that if I do that somebody's going to say, "Well, I'm from Revival and I saw it was you. I just wanted to say hi.”
So let me ask you if you see me in a red light, be patient, okay?I am getting older and it takes me a while to get that foot off that brake and to get it over there on the gas pedal, and to get that car moving. Be patient, brother. And when you go to a restaurant and you wait to get a table. And then you wait for your menu and then you wait to order, then you wait for your food, then you wait for your check and they call the person that serves you, the waiter. I'm the waiter. "All I've done is wait since I got to this joint. What's the deal?" So the natural heart unregenerate individual does not naturally have patience, right? We don't want to be patient. Now, the word patient comes from two Greek words. The first one is makros, which means long. Second one is thermos, which means temper. So what the word means is long temper or long-suffering is how we translate it. Long suffering. It's the quality of restraint in the face of provocation. It's bearing insult and injury without retaliation.
Now I'm going to spill the beans a little bit before I get there, but in verses seven to 10 is one word for patience, which means we don't retaliate when we're being provoked or mistreated. We don't strike back. We're patient. In verse 11, it's a little bit different Greek word, which means that we're patient under circumstances. So the first use of the word verses seven to 10 means patience in provocation from people. And then the word used in verse 11, and we'll get there in just a moment, means that we're patient under circumstances. So two kinds of patience. We don't strike back when we're mistreated or abused by people. And we're also patient in the adversities of life or the different difficulties of life. We have to be patient. Now notice there's a therefore in verse one. "Be patient, therefore." It takes you back to verses one to six. In light of God's judgment on the wicked rich, be patient therefore. God's going to judge them. You don't have to take vengeance in your own hands. Look at verse six, if you back up just one verse.
"You have condemned and killed the just and he does not resist you." So he's speaking to the wicked rich and how they condemned and they killed the just and they do not resist you. They don't take action, they're patient. So now he comes to verse seven, and in light of that he says, "So you as believers need to be patient. You need to be long tempered or long fused, not taking retaliation." Someone said, the storm of indignation is passed, in verses one to six. From this point to the end of the letter, James writes in tones of tenderness and affection. I love that. Actually from verse seven of chapter five to the end of the chapter, it's all tones of affection and tenderness as he speaks to the believers in light of the Lord's return and lays out how we are supposed to live. And we are first to be long-suffering or patient. Now remember, God is revealed in the scriptures as long-suffering, excuse me, or patient. So when we are patient we are Godlike. That's what it means to be godly by the way.
When you say he's a very godly individual, it means he's like God. So if I'm patient, I'm displaying the attribute of God. So it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians chapter five verse 22, and also Ephesians five verse 18. "When I'm filled with the spirit, I have patience." And in 1 Corinthians 13 it says, "Love," which is God's agape love. Here it is. "Suffers long and is kind." So that phrase, "suffers long" means is patient, is persevering as well. And after suffering long, if we're filled with the spirit, we will show kindness. Now how long must we be patient in our suffering and our mistreatment? The answer verse seven, look at it with me. "Unto the coming of the Lord." You say, "Do I have to wait that long?" "Yes." Be patient. The Lord's coming. Notice verse eight, "For the coming of the Lord draws nigh." Then notice verse nine, "The judge stands before the door." You can hear his footsteps on the front porch. He's got his hand on the doorknob, he's going to enter any moment. So be patient.
So three times in three verses, seven, eight and nine, he makes reference to the Lord's coming. The coming again of Jesus Christ has practical implications into our daily lives. It's not just a theological or theologians called eschatological concept for theologians to debate. It is practical rubber meets the road. If you really believe, listen to me, that Jesus Christ is going to come back and set all things right, when He does, wait for Him to do that. Be patient for Him to do that. Don't take matters into your own hands. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And by the way, the book of James opened in chapter one verse four with, "Let patients have her perfect work that she may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing." So we are patient waiting for the coming of the Lord. Now the question is, which coming does James have in mind? And I am having a little hard time not to preach tonight's sermon this morning, but it's hard for me not to resist it or to resist it.
There's actually in the Bible the doctrine of the coming of the Lord for his church, which is called the rapture. And then there's the coming of the Lord with his church, which is the second coming or second advent. Now those are not two coming strictly speaking. Strictly speaking, there's only one second coming and that's the second coming of Christ at the end of the seven years of tribulation, I believe that the Lord will come back before the millennium at the end of the tribulation. But there's also a earlier coming seven years at least before the tribulation, of the Lord in the clouds to catch up the church, the true believers. People who are part of the body of Christ, saved individuals, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we forever be with the Lord. And I'm going to talk about that more tonight. So the rapture is the Lord comes in the heavens, we get caught up to meet Him in the clouds. The second coming is we come back with the Lord, Revelation 19, and then he judges the wicked and sets up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years commonly called the millennial reign of Christ.
So the question is what judge or what coming is James referring to in these verses? Verse seven, eight and verse nine, "The judge stands at the door." I believe it's a reference to the second coming. Now when we talk about the rapture and we will tonight. In the New Testament, it's always presented as an imminent, listen carefully to that word, imminent doctrine of His coming. Which means nothing has to happen before the rapture takes place. You know what that means? We could be raptured before the sermon gets over right now this morning. I've always thought it'd be so cool to get raptured on Sunday morning while I'm preaching, wouldn't it? Now if you say yes, I hope it's because you know you're saved and you're going to get caught up in the rapture. If you're say no, the rapture takes place, everybody's gone and just you sitting in the sanctuary all by yourself, you're going to have a lot of cars on the parking lot to pick from. I'll take that one. But you'll be driving it into the tribulation period. The revelation of the antichrist and all that's going to happen.
So the second coming is proceeded by signs, Matthew 24 and 25. But the rapture is the imminent hope, Christ will come at any moment and catch us up to meet the Lord in the air. So I believe that he's referring here in James to not the rapture, but he's referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ. And it's interesting, the word coming in verse seven and verse eight is the Greek word parousia which means presence. So it's not so much that we're going to get to meet the Lord in the air, it's that the Lord Himself physically is presence is going to be manifested on earth. And Jesus speaking of the second coming in Matthew 24, His famous Olive discourse. He said, "It's the lightning that shines from the east unto the west. So shall the coming, the parousia of the Lord. Every eye will see Him. He will have His eyes like a flame of fires, His hair white as wool, His feet will like be polished brass. Out of His mouth will go a two-edged sword, and He comes in righteousness and vengeance to judge the wicked."
So that's what we're waiting for, the manifestation of the sons of God, when we the church come back with Christ and He reigns in righteousness upon the earth. Write down 2 Thessalonians chapter one verse six to eight. I'll read it to you real quick. Listen, Paul said, "Seeing it is a righteous thing," listen to that. "Righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you." So he is writing to the believers in Thessalonica saying, you know it's a righteous thing that God's coming back and He's going to bring judgment on the wicked who trouble you. Verse seven of 2 Thess, chapter one. "To you who are troubled, rest with us." James says, be patient. Paul says, rest with us. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels." That's the second coming. "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now if you wrote down that verse you read, you keep reading, it talks all about the second coming and the vengeance and the judgment that God will bring to Christ upon the unbelieving world at that time.
So if you are suffering because of your wicked world around you, be patient. Jesus is coming. He will vindicate you and judge the wicked. But it's hard to be patient when we are being mistreated and abused. So James gives us three encouraging examples in our texts of patient endurance. He gives us the example of the farmer. He gives us the example of the prophet and then he gives us the example of the man, Job. I want you to see that in the text. First of all, he gives us the example of the farmer, verse seven to nine. He says, "Be patient brethren for the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman." Now that King James translation husbandman is a reference to the farmer. It carries the idea of an agricultural worker. So we call them farmers. So farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it until he receives the early and the latter rain. "Be ye also patient. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord draws nigh. And while you're waiting, don't be grudging against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. "Behold again the judge," which is a reference to Christ in the second coming, "stands at the door."
Now if you are impatient, you'd better not be a farmer. You ever tried to grow a garden? My name's John. So I figured it fits. I might will be a farmer. Farmer John, that would work. And many years ago I took a patch in the backyard, tore it all out and I decided I'm going to farm my own vegetables. That was my one and only time I ever tried that. We have grocery stores that sell them. You can buy them, ready to go and eat. Why grow your own? No one ever told me you had to till the soil. No one ever told me you had to get the weeds out. No one ever told me about gophers and pest. The only one had enjoyed my garden that year was the gophers. And I remember putting the seed into the soil, watering it and going, "Okay, I'm hungry. I can't wait to eat." And I waited and I waited and I waited and I waited and a little sprout came out of the ground. I'm getting hungry. I gave up on farming.
If you're a farmer, you have to be patient. You have to till the soil, you have to pull the weeds, you have to put in the seed, you have to water it, and then you have to wait. It doesn't come immediately. I'd just rather order online, go up to the drive-in, have him pass it out. Praise Jehovah and eat my food. So the farmer waits, notices it says verse seven, "He waiteth and has long patience." A farmer must have patience and must have faith. Now why are farmers willing to wait? Look at the text. First of all, verse seven, "Because the fruit is precious." The fruit is precious. If we will wait on God, the future is precious. If we will wait on God, the future is awesome. We would trust Him, put the future in His hands. It's like the precious fruit that we will reap at harvest. So verse seven says, "Waited for the precious fruit." And I love that. Then secondly, why are farmers willing to wait? Verse seven, because it is a process. So the fruit is precious, the fruit is a process that takes time.
Look at verse seven. "They wait for the early," which should be October, November, the fall. "And the latter rain," which would be April and May before the final harvest. So it's precious and it's a process. Also, we must trust in God's providence. If you're a farmer, you're waiting for the crop. You trust God for the weather, trust God for the harvest and all that. We too as Christians must wait for the precious fruit and future promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives. We must be patient for God's process. Our hearts are the soil, the seed is God's Word. The seasons of life as we grow and respond to God's word. The rain and the sorrows and the sun and the circumstances of the soil of our life, God purposes a crop. John 15, Jesus talks about I'm the vine. You are the what?
The branches. And when we like a branch abide in Christ, what happens? We bear fruit, right? Apart from Him we can do nothing. We can't bear fruit. But you know the branches that bear fruit, you know what he does to them? Prunes them. If the branch could talk, "Ouch, that hurts. Why are you cutting back?" Because he wants to bear more fruit. So, we are branches being pruned and the process of God producing fruit in our lives. Don't get impatient, don't freak out, don't doubt God. He knows what He's doing. He's the perfect husbandman. Notice what we're to do in verse eight, "Establish your hearts." I love that word establish. It means it suggests the mustering up of courage to strengthen your inner being. The New English Bible renders that, "Be stout-hearted." It speaks of a firmness of faith. "Establish your heart." Be stout-hearted. Trust in the Lord. Because again, verse eight, "For the coming of the Lord draws nigh."
And then notice in verse nine, "As you are waiting, stop your complaining." If I were to free paraphrase verse nine, that's the way I would run that. "As you are waiting, stop your complaining." Now I have a problem with patience. I want it right now and I don't want to suffer to have patience. I just want to go to a weekend conference on how to have patience in five easy steps, and come home patient. But it's not going to happen. Tribulation works what? Patience. You guys didn't want to quote that verse, did you? Patience. There's no shortcuts. There's no other way to get there. But I also have a problem with grudging. I looked up the word grudge there it means to sigh, to groan. I've got the gift of groaning. Spiritual gift God's given to me. Murmur or complain. Isn't it interesting? He puts that in verse nine. He's talking about these grand themes of the coming of the Lord, and that we're to be patient and don't gripe about one another, don't complain.
This is another way of saying don't be judgmental. Don't be fault-finding. Don't be critical. Don't gripe and complain about one another. Actually the natural tendency of unjustly blaming others when we suffer, there is a unspiritual, carnal natural tendency that when I suffer, I want to blame this person. I want to blame that person. I'm going to blame God. I want to blame somebody instead of trusting God, not complaining. I want to blame and grumble and murmur about other people. Again, the New English Bible says, "My brothers don't blame your troubles on one another." And by the way, that's what's called an imperative in the Greek. It's a command. "Stop complaining and blaming others for your troubles." This is a great application in a marriage relationship. It's not your wife's problem, it's not your husband's problem. God is in control. Trust Him. Look to Him, wait. So like the farmer is patient, we must be patient, which implies keep working. God is working.
The saintly Samuel Rutherford said, "Why should I tremble at the plow of my Lord that makes these deep furrows in my soul. He's no idle husband and he purposes a crop." I love that. Why should I freak out? Why should I get impatient? Why should I grumble? Why should I complain? God is purposing a crop in our lives. Someone said, "The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears." I love that. So be like a farmer patiently keep working till the Lord returns. Now the second is out of the prophets. Verse 10, he says, "Take my brother and the prophets." And he puts it in the plural. So he is not telling us which prophets but the prophets of the Old Testament, who has spoken in the name of the Lord. Now I love that statement there, that they're God's spokesmen. They would preach and they would say, thus sayeth the Lord. I don't believe that we have prophets in that sense today.
The only way you can say thus sayeth Lord, is if you're reading the Bible. I don't get direct revelations from God. But the Bible is the Word of God so when I read the Bible, it is thus sayeth the Lord that's what a prophet does, proclaims the Word of the Lord. And then notice also in verse 10, "They suffer affliction and they do it with patience." Steadfast endurance or long-suffering. Now when you think about the prophets, Isaiah was believed to be put to death by being sewn in two. We also know that Daniel was thrown into a lion's den. We know that Elijah suffered from King Ahab and Jezebel. All of them, verse 10 had spoken in the name of the Lord. Anyone who speaks for God will be persecuted. You can take that to the bank. If you proclaim God's word to this wicked hostile generation that you're living in, you'll be persecuted. So Jeremiah is one of my favorites to consider him. He's known as the weeping prophet. He wrote the book of Lamentations, which think about that. We have a book of the Bible that's lamentation or weeping or lamenting.
Jeremiah, the great prophet, priests in the darkest days of Judah 40 years and saw no converts. I would've given up long before Jeremiah. He never gave up. He was rejected. He was put in stocks, he was put in prison. He was thrown into a muddy cistern, but through it all he was patient. Jesus said in Matthew chapter five, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for so persecuted they what? The prophets which were before you." So if you're preaching God's Word and you are persecuted for that, you are in good company. Amen. Like they treated the prophets, they are persecuting you. Now what encouragement can we receive from the example of the prophets? Well, number one, they were doing god's will and yet they suffered. Notice verse 10, "They're an example of suffering affliction." So they're a pattern. They're an example to us of how to suffer affliction. And that phrase, suffering affliction only appears here in the entire New Testament and it has the connotation of suffered hardship.
It's only used here of the prophets. Now they spoke in the name of the Lord. They were doing the will of God. They were preaching the word of God. And guess what? They suffered. You say, "That's supposed to encourage me?" Yes. Here's the encouragement. You can be right smack dab. Listen carefully. In the center of God's will, doing God's work, God's way and still suffer. Where did we ever get the idea that if I'm in the will of God, I'm doing the work of God and I'm preaching the word of God, that everything's going to be hunky-dory. It's not in the Bible. Jeremiah, Daniel, all the prophets, they were persecuted. They suffered hardship or affliction. So you can be smack dab in the center of God's will and suffer affliction. You say, "Well that isn't much encouragement to me." It is when the devil comes along and he tells you when you're suffering that it's because you're out of the will of God. Or there's some sin in your life or you're doing something wrong or it's because of past sins God is punishing you.
Instead of realizing, I've been forgiven in Christ, I'm a child of God, I'm justified. I'm doing the will of God and I'm right in the middle of God's will and yet I suffer. You remember when Jesus told the disciples, "Get in the boat and go in the boat, cross the Lake Galilee to the other side." He put them in the boat, told them to get in the boat, put them in the boat, sent them out on the lake. And guess what He did? He went up to the mountain, and had a prayer meeting with His father. And in the middle of the night as they're rowing across the lake, they encountered a storm and the waves are crashing over the boat and they all think they're going to die and they're going to drown. And I'm sure it's not in the Bible, but a little imagination I'll preach from the white space. I'm sure they looked around at each other, "Whose idea was this midnight boat ride?"
You ever go on a camping trip? And you're going to camp in a tent in North Dakota, in December? And it's like, "Whose idea was this trip? Whose idea was this?" And you looking and they go, "It was Jesus' idea." "Where is he? He's up there on the mountain having a prayer meeting while we're suffering here on the lake." So the storm's raging. And guess what happened? Here comes Jesus walking on the water. Isn't that cool? The waves which they thought were going to undo them were the very waves that brought Jesus to them. But they were in the will of God. So, they were obeying Christ. They were doing what He called them to do. He sent them out on the lake and yet they encountered a storm. So you can be imperfect, obedience to God, doing the perfect will of God and still encounter storms. Secondly, God cared for them in their suffering. You think of Elijah who was fed by the ravens, that's pretty cool. He was getting water from the brook. He was discouraged, wanted to give up and God spoke to him in the still small voice, said, "Elijah, you just need to take a nap."
I can claim that promise. I'll take that home. Praise God. Take a nap. It's in the Bible. God told these discouraged prophet, "Take a nap." Sometimes you just need to go to bed. You just need to go to bed. Get some sleep, crabby head. It's biblical. And then when he woke up, there was a cake and God said, "Eat." An angel brought it. It was angel food cake. Must've been awesome. And he said, "Eat." So I love it. God says, "Take a nap and get something to eat." Somebody go, "Praise the Lord. That's my word from the Lord today. I'm going to go home, take a nap and get some food. Amen."
But God cared for them so His providence and His care. So when we suffer, God takes care of us. Someone said it like this, "The will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us. The will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us." When you are persecuted like the prophets, we should be patient like the prophets. Number three, we learn from the prophets. They patiently kept witnessing for God. They didn't stop, they didn't quit, they didn't throw in the towel. "Well, thanks a lot, God, if you're going to have this happen to me, I give up." They persevered, they continued. Now there's a last individual this time that we should learn from as an example. His name is Job verse 11. So, be like the farmer who keeps working, be like the prophets who keep witnessing and then thirdly be like Job, who kept waiting on the Lord.
"Behold," verse 11, "we count them happy." The word means bless, "which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job." Now when he uses that phrase, "you have heard." He's saying that it's proverbial. That the patience of Job was proverbial. I need the patience of Job. "And you've seen the end of the Lord." Notice that phrase, end. So our lot is not in this life now, but it's in the end when the Lord returns. "The end of the Lord that the Lord is very pitiful." Not just pitiful, but very. And it actually says in that verse it's saying, "He is full of compassion and of tender mercies." Now these tender mercies and compassion are closely related, but they're differentiated in the fact that he's full of compassion and tender mercies for emphasis. That's what the Bible's doing here. It's emphasized. Repetition is to make it emphatic or for emphasis. So when you suffer, when you go through trials, remember God is full of compassion and full of tender mercies. Amen.
Always, God is good. God is good all the time. Now, as I pointed out, and I'll mention it again. There's a change in the word patience beginning in verse 11. In verses seven to 10, the word patience means long-suffering with people. In verse 11, it means now endurance or perseverance in circumstances. It means you stay put, stand fast when you would like to run away. If I'm speaking to anybody here right now this morning that is discouraged, and wants to give up, wants to run, God is trying to speak to you. He wants to get your attention, stay put. Trust Him. Don't give up on your marriage. Don't run away from your husband or wife. Don't run away from your problems. Do you know you can't run from your problems because if you do, you take yourself with you wherever you go. And most of your problems are you. Everywhere I go, I take me with me. So my problems just come right along wherever I go. You need to be patient. You need to be steadfast. Don't give up. Don't throw in the towel.
Like Job who's an awesome example to us. Now, Job's patience was proverbial. He was a righteous man. He was a rich man. And God was bragging about Job one day and the angels of God had come together and Satan was there among them. Satan evidently had access to God's presence. And God was bragging about Job. Now, I don't know if the Lord would ever do that or could do that, but I've often said, "Lord, don't brag about me, especially if the devil's around. Okay? And even whenever the devil's around, Lord, just don't even mention my name. Okay? I just want bealls above to bug off. Leave me alone." But He's bragging about Job. "Has thou considered my servant, Job? Righteous man, loves good, hates evil." And the devil said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." This is paraphrase. He goes, answers back to God. "He only serves You because You have blessed Him. You've given him wealth, You've given him health. You've given him all these possessions, a wife, children. The only reason why Job serves You is because you've given him all these things."
So he's saying to God, "You're not worthy to be worshiped to served apart from your gifts." Now listen to me very carefully. The theme of the book of Job is not suffering. The theme is God is worthy to be worshiped apart from the gifts that He gives. Don't miss that. The theme of Job is that God is worthy to be worshiped apart from the gifts that He gives. And the devil was actually putting God to the test and using Job as his instrument, "He will curse you. Let me touch his body. Let me take his possessions. Let me afflict him." And the devil said to God, "He's going to curse you to your face. You take away the blessings, he won't serve You anymore. He won't love You anymore. He won't follow You... Because You're not worthy to be worshiped apart from the gifts that You give." And you know what God said? God said, "Okay, go ahead." So God puts a hedge around Job as he puts a hedge around as I believe it with all my heart. We may not know why He allows what He allows. We may not understand why he lets us suffer when we suffer. But it's all around God's perfect care.
Nothing breaks through the hedge of what God allows for His purpose. And He's good. So the devil takes all Job's, possessions in one day. You think you've had a bad day? Everything he owned except for his loving, supporting wife. She said, "Why don't you curse God and just die?" "Thank you sweetheart. I needed that encouragement." We know the story of Job. Job said, "Should we only expect good things to come from God and not evil? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Prays or blessed be the name of the Lord. I came into the world," Job said, "naked. I will go out in the way I came naked. Though he slay me," Job said, "I will still trust Him." Can you say that? I don't see, I don't know, I don't understand. Whenever you're in the dark, God is never at a distance. You may be in the dark right now, you may not see, you may not know, you may not understand. But God is never, ever at a distance, beloved.
So never doubt in the dark when God has spoken in the light, "I will never leave you. I will never no ever forsake you." He's with you. So be like Job patiently waiting, trusting the Lord. "Though He slay me yet will I trust in God." Now, lessons quickly from Job. Job was a righteous man yet he suffered Number two. Job didn't know why he was suffering, but God had a purpose. So with us. Number three, Job trusted and kept loving God even though He didn't understand, so should we. And number four, God bless Job in the end of his life. Isn't God good? Job lived on to be 140 years old. He saw his son's sons and his sons to four generations. And Job being old yet was full of days. And then notice verse 11 and 12 or verse 11 in our texts, excuse me. He experienced God's compassion and God's tender mercy.
In time of affliction, we most commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God. Job said this. He said, "I've heard thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes have seen You. I've heard about you, but now I see you clearly." At the beginning, the power of darkness may have an hour, but at the end the Lord will be seen. We need to wait and trust in the Lord. You may be in the dark, but you're never at a distance from God. Now, in conclusion, be like the farmer, be patient. Jesus is coming. Keep working like the prophet. Keep witnessing. Don't give up. And like Job keep waiting, trusting in God's compassion and in God's mercy. Amen.
Pastor John Miller teaches a topical message through James 5:7-11, “Patient Till Christ Comes.”