Aug. 9, 2020

What Does James 4:13 Mean?

What Does James 4:13 Mean?


Today, we explore a new section of James' letter in James Chapter 4:13-17.

In this section, James addresses prominent Christian businesspeople and a common sin James was witnessing among them.

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  (James 4:13 NIV)

In today's episode, you will discover:

  1. How the Roman roads contributed to their success in business
  2. What sin they were committing when making business plans
  3. What James tells us to do when making plans

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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.

In the first century the commercial trade industry was growing.  The Roman government had laid down thousands of miles of roadways making it easier than ever for people to travel from one town or city to another. (Just a side note, there are places where you can still see those roads today, over 2000 years later. How cool is that?)

People within the Jewish community, both men AND women, were successful in commercial ventures and foreign trade. Many of them left Palestine in search of wealth.  

So, James addresses them here in James 4:13

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”   

So, James begins with the words, “now listen.” This is a common expression used when you are about to make an argument or you’re speaking harshly. Maybe you’ve even used this expression with your kids, “Now, you listen here.”

Ok, so James is making an argument here and he is saying, “You prominent businesspeople, you’re out there making plans saying, ‘Today or tomorrow, we will go to this or that city.’”

It was common for teachers and public speakers in that day to remind their people of the inability to control their future. Solomon, the wisest man in history, said it in Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” 

Now, the problem isn’t that these businesspeople are making plans. In fact, the Bible encourages us to prepare for the future. For example, Proverbs 14:15b says, “the prudent give thought to their steps.” Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” 

The sin here is that these people did not seek GOD for wisdom when making their plans. They’re acting as if they control their future, when, in fact, God is the one who holds the future. 

I love Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” 

So, your simple truth for today: Ask God for wisdom when making your plans.  

One way to seek God’s Wisdom is with a daily Bible study, and It is super simple. All you have to do is ask your Amazon smart speaker to “Play Bible Study.

I’m Julie Carruth and I’ll see you again tomorrow.