Honoring Your Covenant With God
Rubel Shelly   -  



Rubel Shelly, teacher

Text for This Study: James 4:1-10

1. The Old Testament uses covenant imagery in several contexts to describe the Yahweh-Israel relationship. How does that imagery function in the story of Hosea? Also see Jeremiah 3:8. Given that James’ original readers were Jewish in background, is it surprising that he would use this imagery of their spiritual peril?

2. Christians take a long view of the meaning of human life. How does this fact of a “long view” work against the “cravings” or “lusts” that James laments at verse 1?

3. The word translated “pleasure” in verse 3 is hēdonē – from which we get the words “hedonism” and “hedonistic.” What does our English word “hedonism” mean? What sorts of things would James have had in mind here?

4. James returns again and again to the matter of being “double-minded” about one’s faith (see 1:8). How does James 4:4 pick up the idea? What does it point to in someone’s lifestyle?

5. The word “adulterer” refers to a person who violates a covenant. (The word is often used of marital infidelity in Scripture, but it is actually a broader term.) Why do you think James uses such a strong word here? What is the “path to fidelity” he marks out in verses 7-10?

This prayer from Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was quoted in the video.

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy affection may drag downwards.

Give me an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out.

Give me an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.

Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God,

understanding to know you,

diligence in seeking you,

wisdom to find you,

and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you.

Through Jesus our Lord. Amen.