Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All
As an example, brothers, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5:10)
My brothers, of suffering and patience, take the prophets. This refers to their trials and persecution. In James’ effort to encourage his readers, he is asking them to consider those servants of God who came before them, walking similar difficult paths. Many of the Old Testament prophets were persecuted for delivering God’s Word to the people and the kings (more on this below). So, if some of the holiest men of Israel faced persecution that God did not remove from them; then, it is likely these good men that James is writing will have to go through the same, at least, to a degree.
An example of suffering and patience. Those who walked with God formerly set the example that these needed to imitate.
Being moved along by the Holy Spirit, the prophets of the Old Testament were the mouth of God, as what they spoke was directly from God himself. James wants these brothers to recall the difficult times that some of these prophets had to endure patiently. These prophets lived through the savage Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and wicked rulers from their people, who were known to kill prophets with a message they did not like. God’s prophets were about faith and endurance. In other words, these men from old have successfully faced what James’ readers were facing and what we have to face. Jeremiah, for example, suffered all kinds of afflictions but faithfully and patiently continued to serve as God’s prophet. (Jer. 20:8-11) Just before being martyred by the Jewish religious leaders, Stephen said, “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?” – Acts 7:52.
Occasionally, these faithful prophets felt disheartened, confounded at why this or that was not happening. Some, like Habakkuk, went to God in prayers, asking him why he continued to allow these rich, powerful men and corrupt kings to rule. In all of this, they by no means abandoned their path of endurance in favor of sighing and groaning against God or their fellow brothers. Instead, they tried to use their office as God’s spokesmen to lovingly help those who were persecuting them. For example, Jeremiah warned, “They will not give you over. Please obey Jehovah in what I am saying to you, that it may go well with you and you may live.” – Jeremiah 38:20