Image: Fall sky, Virginia, November 2020
Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on James 5:10-12:
Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord (James 5:11).
In his epistle, James exhorts the “brethren” to maintain the fruit of patience (longsuffering), by placing the example of Job before their eyes.
When we are faced with afflictions, can we say as Job did, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return thither: the LORD gave and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (1:21)?
When even those closest to us tempt us to despair, will we say, “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (2:10)?
When the Lord speaks to us from the whirlwind, will we, like Job, say, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth” (40:4)?
Notice James adds in v. 11 that the brethren have not only “heard” of the example of Job, but also “have seen the end of the Lord.” The Greek word for “end” here is telos. It does not mean “end” as in “conclusion” (e.g., “the end of a play”) or “last thing” (e.g., “the end of a series”). Rather, it means “goal” or “plan” or “design.”
His point: God had bigger plans or goals or designs to be worked out in his sanctification of Job that required Job’s suffering and affliction.
This same spirit is expressed by Joseph when he revealed himself to his brothers, saying, “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen 50:20). Can you say to the person who has treated you the worst, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”?
Consider Paul’s great statement in Romans 8:28, a comfort to so many saints over the years: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Friends, let us look to the example of Job and trust the good “end” God has purposed when he allows his saints to suffer affliction.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle