My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed, we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord– that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:10-11
Moses, a tremendous leader whose people were quick to turn on him; David, serving Saul yet hunted by him; Elijah hounded by Ahab and Jezebel; Jeremiah continually rejected to the point of being known as the “weeping prophet”; Daniel, removed from his homeland, tossed in a lion’s den; Ezekiel, deserted by his wife; Hosea, one oft betrayed in marriage; John, imprisoned and beheaded– these are a sampling of the prophets referred by James as examples for us. Of course the greatest of all examples is the Lord Jesus Himself— Isaiah (53:7) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” Picking up in verse 12– “Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressor, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” What a great example for us in the prophets and even more-so in the price paid for us by our Savior!
We are told by James, to consider the “perseverance of Job.” The great fact about Job is that in spite of all his agony, and all the questions that perplexed him, he never lost his faith in God. He said (Job 13:15) “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” “My witness is in heaven, and my evidence is on high (16:19). And then his fabulous declaration, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” The very greatness of Job lies in the fact that in spite of all which tore at his heart, he never lost his grip on faith, nor his grip on the God of his faith.
Consider the following from C.H. Spurgeon– “One going to a surgeon will bear sharp pain when he is convinced he will be healed by such pain. If a man proposes to cut me, I decline his offer. But if I know that I will die unless the incision is made, I welcome the knife. Let him cut without mercy if he intends mercy by it. It might be unmerciful to hold back his hand in such a case. Such knowledge should make us patient under divine chastisement. The Lord never grieves us because he likes to grieve us. He is full of pity and will only rid you of what would harm you.”
‘The Lord is compassionate and merciful.’ Let us not be persuaded by man or devil to think ill of our God. He has a father’s heart even when he makes us feel the strokes of his hand. Our God cannot be unkind to us; he cannot forsake us. If we would see his goodness and his justice blended, we must look at the Son of God on the cross, dying in our place. Let us not doubt the tenderness of him who gave his one and only Son.”