The Book of Jacob

I’ve been reading the book of James. For my non-Christian friends, that’s a book in the Bible. If you’re interested, it is located toward the back of the Bible, sandwiched between the book of Hebrews and the first letter from Peter. Or look in the table of contents. Honestly, that’s what I do. For my non-Christians pals, think of it as chapters and that will make it easier to find.

James was the half-brother of Jesus, son to Mary and Joseph. Well, there is some debate about that actually, because the word brother can also be translated cousin, but I’m reading it from the perspective of James as Jesus’ half brother.

Turns out James (the English name) was Jacob. Likely named for his grandfather (on Joseph’s side, Matthew 1:15-16). If you’ve read James, and you’re aware that Jacob (not the grandfather, several generations back) was the name of the Jewish patriarch, this fact will make you smile. James gets no small amount of grief for being, well too Jewish, i.e. all works and no faith.

In the first chapter–heck the second sentence of the first chapter–James instructs believers to, Consider it pure joy, whenever we face trials of many kinds. I like that James doesn’t get into listing the possible scenarios of trials. He only says trials of many kinds. I like this because I tend to minimize my trials, thinking my problem is a severe lack of coping skills, not a trial. So, right off, James gives me permission to at least ask myself this question: Is this a trial I am facing?

But then, he commands me to consider my trial pure joy. His reasoning is that it will aid in making me mature and complete, not lacking anything. Isn’t that funny? Because I’ve always noticed that trials come with loss, but James says they come bearing gifts. Something to ponder.

The chapter goes on to say many things. Here’s just a few.

  • If you lack wisdom, ask God for it, he gives generously without finding fault.
  • The poor man is in a “high position,” the rich man is in a “low position.”
  • God does not tempt us, generally we’re just carried away by our own lusts, which gives birth to sin, and when sin has matured, it gives birth to death.
  • Every good and perfect gift is from God, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.
  • Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger–for a person’s anger does not bring about a righteous life.
  • Don’t just listen to God’s Word, but do what it says.
  • There is a law that is perfect and it gives freedom.
  • Religion is taking care of the poor and widowed, and keeping ourselves from being infected by the world.

Seems James has a lot on his mind. So, do I. We should fare well together.

2 thoughts on “The Book of Jacob

  1. I love it when Scripture gives us “lists” and no matter how often we can read passages, something new revealed every time. This was just a great mini-lesson for me this morning!! Simple and applicable to right where I am! God bless you today!

    • Thank you Laura! Yes, I like my Scripture lists too. And James is talking to me a lot these days. The Lord is good. God bless you, as well!

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