Daily Readings and Thought for December 10th. “THE LAST DAYS”
Today we completed reading the letter of James; it is full of interesting and, at times, challenging thoughts. He is the leader of the Jerusalem church that you read about in Acts 15 v,13 – and probably the half brother of Jesus. As the chief spokesman for the believers at Jerusalem not long before the city was encircled and finally destroyed by the Roman armies in AD 67-70, his comments in his final chapter are mainly directed at the situation that had developed there.
This is 30 years after the church had been established around 30 AD. There is fairly conclusive evidence that James was martyred in A.D.62.
So James is writing to warn them of their approaching last days and he says, “weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you, your riches have rotted … You have laid up treasure in the last days … you have lived on the earth in luxury and self-indulgence.” [5 v.1-3,5] This is so true of today in Australia.
Remember how, when we read 2 Tim. 3 a few weeks ago, we saw the reference to conditions in the last days (v.1) and saw, flowing on from the previous chapter a description of the spiritual condition of believers! They had only “a form of godliness” – this is so parallel to the situation James is facing.
Back in James we see how he then makes the vital point, “Be patient (steadfast) therefore brothers until the coming of the Lord … establish your hearts … the judge is standing at the door” [v.7,8]
These words apply so much to the world today as we live in the end of the times of the Gentiles (non-Jews). The total godlessness around us is as much a sign to us of the nearing “end” as we see news of the continuing crisis in the Middle East especially in the nations north of God’s Holy Land.
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job” [v.11]. So, as we read Job for the rest of this month, we should remember how James sees him as an example; may Job be an example to us also in these “last days.”