Summary: An expositional series on James
James Chapter 1:9-18
Poverty and Temptation
Let's turn to James chapter one, verse 9.
Jam 1:9-11 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Jam 1:12-15 Blessed [is] the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempt he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
Jam 1:16-18 Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James has quite a few things to say concerning the rich.
• That is, those who are possessed by their riches.
• In chapter 2 God rebukes church people who pay special respect to the rich.
• Here in chapter one, it appears James is speaking out against the rich, but in reality he is not speaking out against the rich, but to the poor who are tempted by riches.
• He starts by encouraging the poor man to be appreciative of his humble situation:
Let the brother of low degree (humble estate) rejoice in that he is exalted:
• From our earthly perspective we do not view being financially challenged as a virtue
• From God’s Heavenly perspective, he sees it as a virtue
o It keeps us coming to him in prayer
o It keeps us from arrogance
o It keeps us obedient (if you have little and you know that sin will cause you to loose even more, you will not sin.
• He warns the poor through the truth of the rich man by saying,
"The rich are going to fade like a flower in the field. They're going to pass away."
Then God extends the example to explain why:
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways (along his journey).
• In the end the rich end up no better off than the poor, they both pass away leaving everything.
o The person of humble estate looses very little, but loses it all
o The person of wealthy estate looses much, but loses it all
In the final chapter of the book, he says, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that are come upon you. For you've laid up your gold and silver for the last days ( that means retirement). But now it's worthless" (James 5:1-3).
But there is an issue, being of humble estate, we all deal with, “Temptation.”