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Come now, you who says, “Today or tomorrow we go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit.” (James 4:13)
We should never make any plans without having considered the Word of God, for we should be biblically minded. Bible principles should be embedded in our thinking to the point that what we think is what God would have wanted us to think. Such persons would never make plans that did not involve God, as they are servants of him, and in essence, their lives are his. The context follows: verses 1-10 speak of those who set God aside for friendship with the world. Then, verses 11-12 speak of those who have set God aside as the lawgiver and judge for their independent decisions. Now, these same ones act as though their future is absolute, so they can make business plans disregarding God. They are self-centered in that they have broken down their plans to the point of how long they will stay and just how much profit they will make.
We must understand that James is not suggesting that a person cannot travel until they have some manifestation of proof from God that it is permissible. Rather, he is reproving the approach by their arrogant, disrespectful, and self-assured statements. They have not considered God in their plans. For a modern-day example, suppose a husband and Father decided that he would get his family out of poverty by taking a long-haul team truck-driving job, which would have him on the road months at a time over a few years. A father is obligated to provide for his family’s needs. He is obligated to provide food, clothing, and housing for his wife and children. (1 Tim. 5:8) However, how many other Scriptures would this violate? Aside from financial means, the father is also obligated to take care of his family’s mental, spiritual, and emotional needs. He is obligated to make Christian meetings, carry out a personal Bible study with the family, spend quality time with his family, and far more. Therefore, taking such a job would evidence a lack of faith in God and an independent spirit, disregarding the Word of God in his decision.
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Come now. James is here beginning a new subject, and he is dealing with another issue facing the Christians to whom he writes. These ones were being presumptuous in their confidence as to what the future held as they went about making their plans, which they stretched into a distant future. They were ignoring the uncertainty of Satan’s fallen world and human imperfection. They were not showing any evidence that they were utterly dependent on God as they should have been. The Greek phrase (ἄγω νῦν agō nun) come now, is intended to seize interest, something that we need to take notice of something that is wrong.
You who says. “You” refers to those making such plans and talking with certainty about what the future will hold for them.
Today or tomorrow we go into such and such a town. They are making long-term absolute certain plans in uncertain times. There is no absolute dependence on God. We should plan as though the return of Christ is fifty years away but live as though it is tomorrow. In other words, e need to maintain our righteous standing before God.
And spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, “The picture James paints with these words would have been familiar to his first-century readers. The first century was marked by growing commercial activity, which was especially true in the Hellenistic cities of Palestine (such as those in the Decapolis). Jews were especially prominent in these commercial ventures; many left Palestine to pursue their business interests. Craig S. Keener observes, “The primary markets for manufactured goods were towns and cities; projecting commitments and profits was also a normal business practice. Traders were not always wealthy, but here they are at least seeking wealth. The sin here is arrogant presumption—feeling secure enough to leave God out of one’s calculations (4:16; cf., e.g., Jer 12:1; Amos 6:1).” (Keener 1993, 680)
 Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation., vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 111.