First, we must keep perspective: that this life ends in death for everyone (nobody escapes). So, God’s concern is what happens to us in the end at the great judgment day.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? —Mark 8:36-37 KJV
1. People are stubborn to repent; even the chosen must be coerced to abandon evil, the world system, and their own lusts to love and pursue God. (Remember, we are created in God’s image to glorify him–sin is the opposite if that glory.)
Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psa 119:67, Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (also read 2Peter 3)
Heb 12:1, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2. Judgment upon the wicked to punish, and prevent them from perpetrating more evil against their fellow man. (See the plagues against Egypt in Exodus 7)
Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
3. Training in patience and other spiritual virtues for the children of God (see Heb. 11 & 12)
Rom 5:3-5, And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rev 3:10, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Thayer: keep: to attend to carefully, take care of.
Strong:To keep eye upon.
VWS: Not the words which Christ has spoken concerning patience, but the word of Christ which requires patience to keep it; the gospel which teaches the need o£ a patient waiting for Christ. On patience, see on 2Pe_1:6; see on Jam_5:7.
My note: There is no promise to keep Christians “away from, or out of” the tribulation which will come on the world. The promise is to watch over or keep an eye on believers during this season, to assure their hope and salvation.
Jas 5:7, Be patient [longsuffering, patiencs that outlasts all trials] therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord [our harvest]. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Barclay: “The early rain was the rain of late October and early November without which the seed would not germinate. The late rain was the rain of April and May without which the grain would not mature. The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work;…”
My note: The focus of James’ letter is on the birth and maturity of the sons of God. No one likes rain, because it hides the sun and all of its enjoyments. However, in this world it is necessary for life; seeds to take root, and to assure their maturity and ultimate “precious fruit”.
The Saints understand this and are therefore patient (long-suffering) during strategic periods of rain. James goes on and gives numerous examples from Bible history.
- I believe the “husbandman” James refers to, symbolizes God as he allows trials (rain) to germinate the seed of faith in new believers (early rain), and strengthen (deepen the roots of) mature believers latter in the their spiritual life, outlasting trials (latter rain,) to bear proper fruit in its season.
- The “husbandman” is also a symbol for believers own patience:
“Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. “
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [recovered], strengthen thy brethren.