“As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” James 5:10.
The righteous God of the Bible has not abandoned or forgotten the poor who are being ground or crushed between the millstones of oppression. The LORD has indeed placed the rich, haughty oppressors on a long leash. But indeed, they are still on His leash. It’s only a matter of time before He decides to pull the rug from under their feet.
Jewish Christians to whom James wrote his epistle knew what it meant to be targeted by the deviant rich of those days. Very often, they were dragged into courts of law. As if that weren’t sufficient a harassment, they had to work without pay. They were pushed to their limits like the peasants of Russia or France were, in the pre-Revolution days. James did not give them a clarion call for revolt or revolution. Instead, he urged them twice to be patient (v. 7, 8).
What was the basis for such an exhortation? James believed that the Lord Jesus Christ’s second coming was “at hand.” The Judge, James assured his readers, was at the door! James wasn’t fleecing his readers. He meant what he said.
James also encouraged his readers to consider the sufferings of prophets who spoke in God’s name. We know that it’s impossible to raise our voices for God, for truth and justice, without paying a price for it. Elijah, Job, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Jesus, … the list goes on. With teary eyes, they exposed the sins of the high and mighty. They spoke for God and God spoke through them. That did not stop those in authority from preying on them. They were threatened, imprisoned, and beheaded. In the midst of their sufferings, some wavered at times. But they held on. They became examples of patient endurance.
If you are in a similar situation as a result of fulfilling your prophetic calling, be patient like the prophets of old. God is never far from you. Your reward in heaven is great! One day, amidst the cheers of multitudes of angels and the redeemed, God will honour you!