Lesson 20

The Epistle of James

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:7 Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain. 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Today's Lesson 

The concern of James is the unity of believers that God has entrusted to him. He has instructed them to be humble, to always wait on guidance from God before making their plans and that God resists those that rely on their own wealth and riches. Today James brings another lesson to bear to encourage these Christians to nurture the implanted word that God has given them: the coming of the Lord is at hand.


James has criticized the rich and those that fail to honor God as they plan their lives and their time. Now he tells those under his care to be patient "until the coming of the Lord." The coming of the Lord is "at hand." Another way of saying this same thing, and an excellent way of looking at this teaching, is that the coming of the Lord is "imminent."


The farmer waits on his crop to ripen. He waits patiently for it all year long. His fields receive the early rain and the late rain. He tills the ground and he plants the seed. Always, his mind is working toward the harvest. In whatever season he finds himself, it is always the harvest that he is anticipating.


So it is with us. Our harvest will be "the coming of the Lord." When the Lord comes, all that we have planned for and have worked toward will occur. When the Lord comes, we can anticipate great change to take place in our lives.


For this reason, we should take ever opportunity to prepare for His coming. James tells us to "establish your hearts." We should keep ourselves ready and prepared. We should have faith, faith in God and faith in the coming of the Lord. We should be patient. The coming of the Lord cannot be rushed or precipitated by our own actions. It will come when the time is right, just as the fruit is ripe in its season.


It is easy to neglect the teaching of the coming of the Lord. It seems archaic to our ears. Moreover, for every person that has studied exactly what "the coming of the Lord" means, there is a different answer. Will the Lord rule on earth or in heaven? Will He reign for a thousand years or for eternity? Who will serve Him? What will our lives be like after His coming? Where will we live? What will we do? For every answer, there are a thousand questions for which we have no answers.


Be patient. The Lord will come.


The coming of the Lord is not a series of events, a set of coming attractions on our social calendar. It is the moment in this life or the next when Christ will not just be a matter of faith to us, but a present reality. The coming of the Lord is first and foremost an intrusion of the divine into our present reality. It is the moment when God will take us by the scruff of the neck and shake loose all of our misconceptions and unbelief. It is the moment when the presence and the nature of God will be undeniable and it will be devastating.


When will the Lord come? Be patient. Establish your hearts. Hold fast to your faith. What must we do? Be patient. Hold fast to your faith. The coming of the Lord is not about you or me. It is about the Lord. He will come when He will come. He will do what He will do. Nothing in heaven or on earth will change that. Be patient. The coming of the Lord is at hand.


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