If the Lord Will
James 4:13-17
Go to now, you that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:…

I. Here is DISSUASION FROM PRESUMPTION — from thoughtless, reckless confidence in the immediate future, in the year that is thought about, and in the self that is to make it so and so. When we look at the scheme of life they draw out, it is all planned and purposed as if they had absolute control over events, over other men, over themselves, almost over God. He is not needed. He is not to be consulted. "To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city." But are you sure you will reach it? What if the carriage in which you travel meets with some dreadful disaster? What if the vessel in which you sail should be suddenly wrapped in flames?

II. Let us look now at THE POSITIVE SIDE, although this has been of necessity involved in what we have said of the negative.

1. First comes a distinct realisation and acknowledgment of God. He who would spend a good year must begin it and go through it seeing God. "If the Lord will," we ought to say — then of course there is a Lord God to will, and work, direct, watch, and keep.

2. Again, this passage teaches us that the Lord has a will in everything that enters into a man's life. "If the Lord will." That is what we are to say at all times, but with emphasis at the beginning of a year.

3. One thing more we notice as in some sort belonging to this passage — this, namely, that life can be great and good, and according to the will of God, not only, yet best, by things done, by a series of activities. "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." I would not here set forth doing, in the narrow mechanical sense, as opposed to speaking, or thinking, or feeling. Some words are acts, some thoughts, some feelings are also acts. All real thought and feeling is action to God. But undoubtedly the reference is chiefly here to outward action — to what is visible and tangible — thoughts embodied, feelings put into words, words put into action; everything made compact, consistent, harmonious.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

WEB: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow let's go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit."

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