Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Farming and Oaths by Virgil Stripes
James 5:7-12 (ESV)
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
When I think of the coming of the Lord, I like to think that I know what the Scriptures mean. I think I understand the most likely meaning of the Tribulation, Rapture, Millennial Reign, etc. But then I come across a passage like this one. First James tells us to be patient, like a farmer waiting for the rains to come in to make the crops come to fruit. Then he tells us that the coming of the Lord is at hand.
So which is it? It can be both perhaps. Because we all have loved ones that have died, fallen asleep, as the New Testament usually refers to it. Yet the rest of us remain. So while we wait patiently during our time in this life, those who pass on to the next life, or fall asleep, no longer have to wait.
The rest of this passage reminds us of how we should be living while we still walk this earth. We are to treat one another fairly, and not grumble against each other. We are to remain steadfast in our faith, and be careful not to make oaths. I think what it means here is that when you make an oath, you are binding yourself to fulfill that oath. And we all, at times,
fail to live up to our promises, so making oaths brings condemnation if they are not fulfilled. At least that is how it seems to make sense to me.
Feel free to leave your comments on these devotions. Let’s get the conversations started. Let’s learn from one another.