Summary: We must be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

James 1:19-20

June 6, 1999

1. Swift to hear

Who? - implies that I believe that the source of information has something worthwhile for me to hear

requires a certain sense of humility on my part; I haven’t got all the answers

- man

a. children

b. spouse

c. other people

listening to people helps me to understand them, their needs, and how they can help meet my needs

- God

a. “This is my Son with whom I am pleased; Hear Him.”

b. God spoke with a still small voice - difficult to hear sometimes

c. God spoke and the worlds came into existence - God’s words carry power and authority

in the middle of trials and difficulties, God speaks to us. When we are going through difficulties, our normal response is to go on radio silence. “Don’t confuse me with the facts. My mind is already made up”

God brings trials into our lives to teach us and train us. Rather than clamming up with God and shutting down channels of conversation, it is at that time that we need to be most attentive to what He has to say.


a. “I care” - Disciples on the water - “don’t you care that we are about to drown?” - “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

b. “I can carry you through” - “My grace is sufficient for you”

c. “I am in control” - “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

2. Slow to speak


a. words of warning - I warn Benjamin as soon as I see him getting himself into danger

b. words of encouragement - “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”; “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together but encourage one another.”

c. words of salvation


a. words of condemnation

- of the person going through trials - The disciples asked who was at fault that the blind man was born blind - him or his parents; do you condemn other people for the trials that they get themselves into and make judgment before you know all the facts? “It must be their own fault”

we should give encouragement and help rather than condemnation

- of the God who allowed the trials - Job’s wife told him to curse God and die; in our pain, we want to point the finger of accusation at someone. God is the most logical target.

don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about the situations that you and others are going through. Allow God to speak first, you listen, and then you will understand what He is doing in your life so that you can respond in a proper manner

3. Slow to wrath

Anger causes you to be slow to listen and quick to talk. When I am angry at you, I have no desire to listen to you.

examine yourself: how quickly do you become angry? how much does it take to make you angry?

yesterday, the kids were playing really well with one another in the morning. But by afternoon, they were getting upset at every little thing. They were hot, tired, and bored. It didn’t take much to get them angry at one another.

wrath is not just the emotion of anger, but it is also the intention of doing something destructive as a result of that anger. Those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior are reserved for wrath. They will one day face God’s judgment. When you are wrathful toward someone, your anger is followed by an action. That action may be unkind words, or it may be pulling out a gun with the intention of killing that person

God is slow to wrath - Romans 9:22

wrath causes:

a. destruction - Matt 2:16 Herod’s wrath at having been tricked caused him to destroy all male babies two years old and under in Bethlehem

b. illogical actions - Daniel 3 Neb heated the oven 7 times hotter; not necessary. If he really wanted them to suffer, he would have made it a slow burn

wrath prevents God’s righteousness from being accomplished - have you ever gotten angry at God? Has that anger caused you to reject His working in your life?

God brings trials into our lives to teach us. But if we respond to those trials in anger and refuse God’s teaching, then we will have gone through the trials for nothing.

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