The first subject James addressed in his epistle is trials. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). The Lord brings trials into our lives as Christians to produce endurance, and to supply those things we lack related to Christian character. In essence, He is conforming us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ through the trials He brings into our lives. (cp. Rom. 8:28-30).
Toward the end of his epistle, James provides examples of those in the past who have endured faithfully the trials of life (5:10-11). He first mentions the prophets who spoke the word of God and suffered persecution for their faith. He then highlights the perseverance or endurance of Job, and the wonderful truth that God had a purpose for testing the faith of Job. Job passed the test; he kept the faith through what were very difficult trials. He lost his wealth, his children and his health. What a perspective Job maintained! And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). He endured faithfully those trials, continuing to believe in God and trust that what He was doing would ultimately be for his good. He said, But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10). We too can endure any trial, including those associated with Covid-19, knowing that God is acting for His glory and our good!
Questions for James 5:10-11
1. What does it mean to be blessed?
2. Why should we count them blessed who endure trials?
3. What does it mean to endure a trial as indicted here by James? Does endurance simply mean to make it to the end of the trial?
4. What was the end intended by the Lord for Job’s trial and suffering?
5. In what way was Job blessed? Read Job 42
6. One of the difficult things for people to accept about trials is that God brings them into our lives. Read Job 1. What was Job’s perspective concerning the Lord’s involvement in our trials?
7. Some might say, “Well, Job was wrong.” God would never do to a person what He did to Job. How does verse 1:22, which are not Job’s words, speak to this? Also, consider 42:11.
8. What was Job’s expectation concerning the trial he was enduring? see Job 23:10, cp. 1Pet.1:6-7
9. How does what Job said in 13:15 indicate the strength of his faith in the trial?