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Read James 5

Warning to Rich Oppressors

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

Patience in Suffering

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Go Deeper

James closes this letter in a sobering way. A genuine faith is an active faith that pierces every aspect of one’s life. Suffering reveals what we truly believe within.

He opens by giving a warning to the rich. He is not saying anything new though. He is simply reiterating what his brother Jesus said throughout His ministry about money (Luke 12, Matthew 6). Like few things do, money has a way of convincing us that we are in control and not reliant on anyone else. Jesus is not against His followers having money, He is against money having a grip on His followers. James is clear that many had spent their life building their kingdom at the expense of others and their consequences were inevitable.

James then proceeds to encourage the church to wait well. For the believer, this world is not our home. Suffering and disappointment are as sure as death. It is easy to lose hope in light of that reality but James offers a better way. He encourages his readers to establish their hearts in the coming of the Lord. Why would he say such a thing? It is the only way to wait well. The heart that knows how the story ends is able and willing to wait. James points us to Job who suffered the loss of resources, kids, and health however He was rooted in the Lord. In Job 19:25 Job says, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand on the earth.” Followers of Christ today have the same expectation on the other side of Christ coming knowing that Jesus will return for His bride.

He closes this letter by inviting the readers to a deeper dependence on the Lord through prayer and confession. You can determine how one views God’s heart by their prayer life and their confessions. James is simply calling us to a life of prayer like he so vividly saw His brother Jesus live. If we commit to walking in the way that Jesus did, we will reap the fruit of the abundant life Jesus offers.


  1. Think about the posture of your heart towards money. Do you have money or does money have you?
  2. How have you been able to wait well for God in difficult seasons? What have you found to be helpful?
  3. What distracts you from praying and how can you remove that?

A Quote

“Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.” – Tim Keller

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4 thoughts on “James 5”

  1. James is a short book full of important wisdoms. This is one, like Ephesians, that would be good verse by verse due to so much information. Be patient, don’t grumble, no judging, God is full of compassion and mercy, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no, PRAY, pray and pray some more. Be fervent in your prayers. Fervent means “having or displaying a passionate intensity; archaic use: hot, burning, or glowing.” Essentially, to do something fervently is to do something with passion, and an older use of the word was to do something like a burning fire. To pray fervently is to pray with intensity, fueled by the Holy Spirit per Bible study We usually or maybe I should say I usually, pray fervently when it is more of a last resort or imminent need or want. I am working on this. There are multiple scriptures about prayer
    1 John 5:14 ESV And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
    Ephesians 6:18 ESV Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
    1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV Pray without ceasing
    These are just a few of the many scriptures about prayer but the point is God is compassionate and full of mercy and wants to talk with His kids=us. He wants us to come to Him with all=ALL our needs/wants/desires. Perhaps He may not give us everything but still He wants to hang out and discuss things. When we do this “prayer” talk then these other things James talked about, be patient, don’t grumble, no judging, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no, will come easier I believe.

    God thank You for increasing my ferventness in my prayers for others. Thank You for my yes meaning yes and my no meaning no. Thank You for less grumbling and more WOOHOOing, Thank You fervently for no judging others!! God continue to help me to see others through Your love goggles. Thank You for Your compassion and mercy towards my family. God bless the minutes of this day that I can do Your will, see others through Your eyes, and speak Your words to and toward them in Jesus name amen.

  2. Today’s questions:
    1. I’ve heard it said that to determine your posture toward money, check your bank account, or credit /debit card expenditures that will reflect your heart. I’d like to think I’m okay in this area, but as I inch closer toward retirement insecurities have resurfaced. I must not engage with these doubts but trust in God who I’ve seen provide over and over again.
    2. The most helpful realization in the difficult things I’ve encountered has been to lean into the sovereignty of God. Nothing escapes his knowledge. If things are not good, he is not done. There I find rest.
    3. What distracts me from praying is my own wandering, fickle mind. I tend to chase rabbits down a trail instead of focusing. Journaling my prayers has been a way to stay on track. It’s also encouraging and faith building to go back and see how God answered the requests.

    1. Those are awesome thoughts, going to take your tip on journaling my prayers….have definitely not been focused over the last half of 2023….toooooo many rabbits

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