OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To reflect upon the writer’s observations gleaned from his search for the purpose of life
2) To notice the proper way to approach God in worship, and the danger of foolish vows
3) To appreciate the limitations of riches, and how the ability to enjoy them is a gift from God
Because of observing much folly during his search for the purpose of life, the writer in this chapter offers counsel on such things as worshipping God, making promises, seeing injustice in high places, and properly using riches.
He urges caution when one goes to the house of God. It is better to draw near to hear than to offer the sacrifices of fools. Therefore be careful what you say (cf. Jm 1:26). When you do make a vow or promise, don’t delay to pay it. It is better not to vow, than to vow and not keep it. Do not let your mouth get you into trouble, thinking you can simply excuse your way out of promises you have made. The righteous anger of God is to be feared (1-7).
Returning to a theme discussed earlier (cf. 3:16-17; 4:1-3), he says not to marvel when you see the oppression of the poor, or the perversion of justice and righteousness. Remember that every one answers to someone higher. Even the king is dependent upon those who
serve him, implying that he too will be held accountable (8-9).
Another theme recurrent throughout the writer’s observations is the proper use of riches. Here he discusses the vanity of loving riches, and the evil of hoarding riches to one’s hurt. Riches in of themselves do not satisfy, they can be the source of much anxiety, and can easily perish through misfortune (10-17).
It is fitting to enjoy the good in one’s labor, but the ability to enjoy is a gift from God. God will keep one who is so blessed busy with the joy of his heart (18-20).
I. THE WORSHIP OF GOD (5:1-3)
A. WALK CAREFULLY (1)
1. When you go to house of God, draw near to hear:
2. Do not give the sacrifice of fools, for they do evil
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
B. TALK CAUTIOUSLY (2-3)
1. Do not be rash with your mouth
2. Do not be hasty with your heart may utter before God
3. Let your words be few
4. Dreams (misleading?) come through much activity
5. A fool is known by his many words
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Proverbs 15:2The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
II. THE TAKING OF VOWS (5:4-7)
A. FULFILL YOUR VOWS (4-5)
1. When you make a vow, do not delay to pay it
2. God has no pleasure in fools, pay what you have vowed
3. It is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay
Deuteronomy 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
B. WATCH YOUR MOUTH (6-7)
1. Do not let your mouth lead you to sin
2. Don’t think you can excuse your rash statements and avoid God’s anger
3. The multitude of dreams and many words are vanity; fear God!
James 3:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
III. THE INJUSTICE OF MEN (5:8-9)
A. DON’T MARVEL AT OPPRESSION (8a)
1. When you see the oppression of the poor
2. When you see violent perversion of justice and righteousness
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
B. EVERYONE IS ACCOUNTABLE (8b-9)
1. High officials must answer to even higher officials Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
2. As the profit of the land is for all, even the king is served by the field. we all need the recourses of the earth to live.
IV. THE VANITY OF RICHES (5:10-17)
A. THEY DO NOT SATISFY (10-12)
1. He who loves silver and riches will not be satisfied with increase
2. As goods increase, so does one’s appetite; there is little profit (satisfaction) other than to see them
3. While the sleep of a laboring man is sweet, the abundance of the rich troubles his sleep
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
B. THEY ARE PERISHABLE (13-17)
1. A severe evil seen is riches kept (hoarded) to the hurt of the owner
2. Such riches can perish through misfortune, leaving the owner…
a. With nothing for one’s descendants
b. To go as naked as he came into this world
c. Eating in darkness, with much sorrow, sickness, and anger
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
V. THE PROPER USE OF RICHES (5:18-20)
A. ENJOY THEM AS A GIFT FROM GOD (18)
1. It is good to eat, drink, and enjoy the good of one’s labor
2. This is one’s heritage from God
B. THE ABILITY TO ENJOY IS A GIFT FROM GOD (19-20)
1. Riches, and the ability to enjoy them, are a gift from God
2. One whom God has so blessed will not reflect unduly on his life, because God keeps him preoccupied with joy and gladness
Victory Baptist Church 05 February 2020 victorypalmetto.com