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Arcing—Assignment 4 [done]
James 1:9-11
How to rejoice in humiliation.
Published March 11th, 2019
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Main point summary
Main point summary
When trials bring humiliation, rejoice that we are given a clear view of our true state and need of God.
James 1:9-11
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
Let the humble be glad when they are affirmed and raised up in honor.
and r the rich in his humiliation,
And let the rich (popular, powerful) be glad when he is stripped of his honor.
because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away.
Because in the same way as a plant wilts, he will pass away.
For the sun rises with its scorching heat
For the sun burns hot,
and t withers the grass;
And the plants wilt,
( and ) its flower falls,
And the flowers shrivel,
and its beauty perishes.
And there is nothing left to appreciate.
So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
So this life is fleeting no matter what we persue.
The first chapter of the book of James is about trials and how they serve God's good plan of sanctification. Verses 9-11 deal with how to respond when life as a christian brings about a reversal of stations. That the poor should take joy in the elevation of being a child of God is no surprise, and James therefore takes little time to describe it. But the idea that the rich should not only endure, but actually boast in humiliation is more confusing. James does not simply command rejoicing in spite of our trials, but to actually rejoice because of the work we know God will do through them. So what work will be done in humiliating a rich person? One of the great challenges of being rich is that it can insulate us from the realities of the fallen world. With the means to allow for good health, pleasant accommodations and safety, we can forget that this life is fleeting and precarious. Wealth is terribly dangerous as it constantly calls us to trust it and the comfort it provides instead of God. Why pray for God to supply our needs when we already have them? Why trust in the Lord for Salvation when death seems a long way off? Why call out for deliverance when we can have justice in the courts? What do we need God for anyway? But James says this security is fleeting. Like a flower fading away in a dry hot summer day, we all will fade away. Wealth cannot stop this, and being forced to reckon with this fact by trials and the resulting humiliation is good. It is a great blessing for the rich to be confronted with the fleeting nature of their lives and be called not to invest them in the mirage of security that wealth brings but to seek God for a lasting inheritance kept safe in heaven. This is a blessing worth boasting in. For they are given new eyes to see God's care and provision and a new ability to boast in the Lord.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.