“Establish your hearts”
Today we read the final chapter of James and his warning to the believers in Jerusalem, for some had
“laid up treasure in the last days” (verse 3).
The “last days” facing Jerusalem, James knew, was the destruction that Jesus had foretold, the time when it would be surrounded by armies and
“its desolation had come” and the Temple destroyed (Luke 21:6,20).
The immediate “last days” at that time, James knew, was God’s vengeance on the people of Jerusalem for killing his Son – they saw their sense of glory as particularly relating to their possession of a most impressible Temple, even Jesus’ disciples boasted of this (Mark 13:1).
However, we perceive that many of the prophesied judgements by Jesus on Jerusalem also apply to God’s judgements on the Gentiles at the time when the Jews have returned and Jerusalem is re-established, a time when all nations, especially those around them are in trouble (see Luke 21:24-28). James’ vision clearly applies to our “last days” as well – so we should take his advice to “establish your hearts” (verse 8) very much to heart.
The chapter starts,
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted”.
This reminds us of what we read last week in Isaiah 24:2,3. Today the “riches” are very largely on paper, computer figures, with some having mountains of debt – it all seems ready to collapse, probably starting in Europe.
So many, especially the apparently wealthy, live “in luxury and self-indulgence” (verse 5). Crime rates are mounting, so how relevant to us are James’ words,
“Be patient therefore brothers (& sisters) until the coming of the Lord” (verse 7).
The only true way to “be patient” and to “establish your hearts” is in the meditative reading (and discussion together as much as we can) of the word of God. This is the foundation to remaining steadfast. Verse 11 tells us,
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast”.
Let us make sure we are among the “blessed”.
Be on the lookout for the 2022 reading: Thought for June 10: Warning to be patient and ready