Today’s passage has two more short exhortations. Both are about how to react to different life situations.
Jam. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Afflicted … Pray
As he has done so often in this letter, James concisely tells his readers what they need to do. He doesn’t tell us any of the theology behind his advice, but there is a lot of it. We can pray in times of trouble because:
- God is actively involved in the world (Joh. 5:17; Dan. 4:17).
- God cares about our needs and about us (Mat. 6:30-32).
- We ask God for help because Christ has cleansed us from our sins and given us His righteousness (Heb. 10:19-22).
- God answers prayer (Psa. 65:2).
The believer’s first response to hardship, then, should be to pray. Often this is the last resort for many of us, though. No matter what we’re going through, we can take it to Him in prayer
1Pe. 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Merry … Sing
Isn’t it interesting that God tells us how to react when things are going well? He does that because success can be more dangerous than sorrow:
Deu. 6:10-12 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, (11) And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; (12) Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
The greatest danger of good times is forgetting God. So when life’s at its best, we need to offer up songs of praise that honor and thank God for His blessings.
How Are You Doing?
Meditate on James 5:14-16 over the weekend. Take some tim to study and meditate on the relationship between sin and sickness. Also, try to get a clear mental image of what God wants the elders of the church to do when called on to pray for the sick.