May 20, 2021

The Chosen...The Book of James Bible Series


Hello again, Sweet Readers! We are back with another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and today we are diving right into James Chapter 2, verses 5-7! 

I managed to stay on track even while on vacation so let's see if we can keep this going!

Let's go!  We'll start with JAMES 2:5-7 in The Passion Translation Bible:

"So listen carefully, my dear brothers and sisters, hasn’t God chosen the poor in the world’s eyes to be those who are rich in faith? And won’t they be the heirs of the kingdom-realm he promised to those who love him? But yet you insult and shun the poor in your efforts to impress the rich! Isn’t it the wealthy who exploit you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the very ones who blaspheme the beautiful name of the One you now belong to?" (The Passion Translation)

I think I have mentioned this before --but I so hope Y'all are watching The Chosen. It's so good!  This verse asks a question about who the chosen are. Of course, we know Jesus was THE Chosen One... and also - we are all grafted in and He has chosen each one of us to be His!  But here, James suggests that God has chosen the poor in the world's eyes to be those who are rich in faith... and who will be heirs of the Kingdom He promised to those who love him!

I love how the Passion points out that it is not just the poor --but the poor in the world's eyes. This isn't limited to the poor who are struggling with finances - but anyone the world would think of as poor or lacking. (This broadens things a bit!)  

I also love how James reminds them/us that it is the poor who will be rich in the Kingdom... Remember - the Kingdom of Heaven is an upside-down Kingdom in that the first shall be last and the least, greatest!  It's also worth noting that James acknowledges that sometimes it's not so much that they are MEANING to insult or ignore the poor --it's just the by-product of their attempts to impress and court the wealthy!

The footnote for verse 7 says the last part of that verse could be read like this: "Aren’t they the very ones who blaspheme the worthy name which was invoked over you (at your baptism).”  Remember, this 'religion' and the act of being baptized was brand new and many among them were being mocked and persecuted.


Next, let's read our verses in the New American Standard Bible:

" Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: did God not choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the good name by which you have been called?" (NASB)

Apparently, there were a whole lot of lawsuits going on at this time! James points out that - for whatever reason, it seems it is the rich who tend to take the Lord's name in vain and use it as a curse word... it is the wealthy who have oppressed the people of God! It makes me think of the quote from Calvin, when he said, "Why honor your executioners?" Why, indeed.  

What is it in us or in our culture or in the trickery of the enemy that stirs our flesh to be drawn to what this world has to offer? Is it something about settling for second best? Is it because the very BEST this world has to offer pales in comparison and the devil just doesn't want us to see it or know it or remember it -- or LIVE like it is true?

Again, the Footnote for James 2:7 tells us this could literally be translated "Do they not blaspheme the good name which has been called upon you." I love this because so often we think of how we take His name, but it's a good reminder for us that His name has been given and attached to us once we become believers. We represent Him.  

Lord, help us re-present You well! 


In The Voice, the Scripture reads like this:

"My dear brothers and sisters, listen: God has picked the poor of this world to become unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom, which He has pledged to those who love Him. By favoring the rich, you have mocked the poor. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the rich who step on you while climbing the ladder of success? And isn’t it the rich who take advantage of you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones mocking the noble name of our God, the One calling us?" (The Voice)

So I can't say for you, but there is something that shifts inside me when I read this version of these verses! I mean, 'unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom, which He has pledged to those who love Him.'  Um... yes, please! It's so dreamy - it's easy to forget that it's true --and that it is (or can be!) us! WE get to be unfathomably rich in faith.  WE get to inherit the Kingdom.  WE get to love Him!

When James talks about the rich climbing the ladder of success, it always jogs my memory to a teaching I heard years ago about how God's Ladder of Success is the opposite of the worlds! In the world's version, we climb and stomp and trample on others to claw our way to the top! But in the Lord's version, we bow down low and we push you up!  If you're gonna bless me, I'm gonna bless you more! If you make room for me, I make room for you and help you up higher! 

It's a fight, alright! 
   But it's a fight for the BOTTOM!


Here it is in The Message Bible:

"Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms?" (The Message Bible)

The Message brings it all home... God operates differently! 

He chose the down-and-outers as leaders in His Kingdom.  I mean... if we believe this, shouldn't we --even or especially in our fleshly tendencies-- be treating them BETTER in hopes that they will treat us better in the Hereafter? Of course, I'm partially joking but I think this is sort of what James was saying! Like - guys... look at and remember the bigger picture here! 

The bigger picture doesn't end here in this world, but it comes into full development in the Kingdom to come... so let's live here and now like we will live there! For, I've heard it said, the Kingdom is near and it is among us right now! The Kingdom is both Now AND Not Yet!


Let's pray: 

Father God, 

We come before you, ever grateful! We are grateful for so many things... so many ways you care for and bless us! But today we are focusing on how You didn't leave us to ourselves and our own fleshly way of rationalizing our behavior! You gave us the Word and the Spirit to teach us all things and to remind us of the Kingdom and how it works and how we are a part of it if we love you! And we do, Lord! We DO love You! Help us not show partiality or favoritism. Help us to never be blinded to the ones in front of us while straining for a better view or a better seat. Help us to remember, Jesus, that you showed us what the Ladder of Success looks like in the Kingdom of God! 

Remind us to fight for the bottom and to push others up! Holy Spirit, help us be mindful that we carry the Mighty Name of Jesus and we ask that You will empower us to represent --to RE-Present-- God well to a world that is lost and dying... that is drowning in fear and shame... that is quick to judge and draw lines and separate into groups... that shows partiality and favoritism even when they/we think it's righteous and holy
!  Father, show us how You love and how You see and care for and lift up --and enable us to follow You in this and every day!

In Jesus' Name!


We'll meet back here in this space in two weeks to dig into the next few verses of Chapter 2 together! And remember, if you've just joined us or have missed a post in this series, you can always go HERE and scroll to the bottom to find each installment of this series as it is published!

'See' you in two weeks! Until then, let's purpose to:

Was there something that stood out to you in a specific translation, or did you experience a new thought or perspective in reading this post that you hadn't noticed before?

What has blessed you or challenged you so far in digging into the book of James here? I'd love to know

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