Bible Society of South Africa

Promise of the kingdom – 29 September 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

5Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.

In our family, it is very important to always keep a promise. We taught this to our children and now we are doing the same with our grandchildren. Promises should always be upheld. This is also something that we encounter in the Bible. In Ecclesiastes 5:4 for instance, the teacher tells us about a promise to God: “When you make a wow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it.” This should be true of all promises including those to other people. When God promises something, we can be 100% sure that he will keep his promise. Think about the promise of the covenant, for instance. Here, God made a promise to Abraham and his descendants, and God always kept it.

In this verse from James, we read that God chooses people and makes a promise to them. James, who wrote this letter, is the brother of Jesus. His letter was specifically sent to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”. The letter is also called one of the “general” letters, as it has a message for all of us. These twelve tribes were not the Jewish nation that was also scattered around the nations at that time, but more probably, the Christian Jews who had fled from the great persecution in Jerusalem and now lived around the world.

To James, it is very important that there should be no discrimination against anybody. The one with the many golden rings and beautiful clothes is, in the eyes of God, not more important than the one with the old and worn-out clothing. God chose those who are not rich in worldly possessions to be rich in faith and made them heirs to his kingdom. That does not mean that rich people are not chosen. According to our verse for today, the heirs to the kingdom are those who love God. The criteria to be an heir is not riches or rags, but love for God and, as can be seen from the rest of this letter, also love for your neighbour regardless of who they are. The wonder of it all is that God promises the kingdom to all people and he always keeps his promises.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that I am also a chosen one and have received the promise of your kingdom, not because I am rich or poor, but because you love me. Amen

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