Today the work load ramps up. Eight verses!
You’ve already learned how to do this, so nothing’s new, but remember that you have to use your absolute best energy and focus if you want to get it all done in just 15 minutes!
After today’s lesson, you will know most of James 4. When you listen to the audiobook again, try to recite along with the 4th chapter.
Reach out to me if you want any help.
(Don’t worry, tomorrow will be a little bit more of a breather.)
1. Learn these new verses
James 4:1 (the sari on the balcony)
Loeb is up early one morning, leaning against the balcony railing… when suddenly a piece of fabric appears out of nowhere underneath him. Its movement causes Loeb to think that some people are wrestling inside the sari, quarreling and fighting. It moves so much that Loeb is lifted up on top of the railing, which frightens him. He asks if someone who is passionate for war is inside the sari. (This is the only conclusion he can come up with.)
- “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” – James 4:1
James 4:2 (the sari in the bedroom)
This story has three parts.
A. When Loeb gets inside the bedroom, he compares the sari to his own blanket on his bed. Suddenly he decides he’d like to replace the blanket with the sari; he desires to have the sari. But it keeps moving and he can’t catch it. So he sits down on it… and suddenly it stops moving! This freaks Loeb out: “Oh no, I’ve murdered whoever was fighting in there!”
B. As soon as he says that, though, it starts moving again. Now Loeb is jealous of whoever is in the sari. “I know this is coveting, but I’d really like to figure out some way to obtain that thing from the people who are quarreling and fighting inside it.”
C. Finally, after a little bit of thinking, he decides, “Maybe the reason I don’t have it is just because I haven’t asked nicely.”
- “You desire and do not have, so you murder.” – James 4:2a
- “You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” – James 4:2b
- “You do not have, because you do not ask.” – James 4:2c
James 4:3 (the sari in the bathroom)
Loeb asks for the sari but does not receive it. Instead, it goes into the bathroom and hangs lifeless on the towel rack. Now, he assumes, the people who were in it have run away. He thinks, “Maybe I asked wrongly, because I just wanted to use it as a blanket, out of my selfish passion for owning beautiful things.”
Then Loeb realizes there is nobody in the sari at this point. (The next story is where he tries to take it up the ladder; we’ve already learned that one.)
- “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:3
James 4:5 (the sari in the attic)
Loeb has taken the sari up into the attic. He sits on it on top of a box, and a Bible suddenly falls out of the box. He wonders why the Bible is being kept in a box instead of being read. He says to himself, “I suppose there’s no purpose of keeping Scripture around if it’s just locked away in a box…”
This reminds him of a very beautiful Bible his mother used to keep locked away when he was a kid. He used to be jealous whenever his mother got the Bible out but wouldn’t let him touch it.
Loeb would sit here contemplating things longer, but he hears a noise and decides to get out of this spooky, dark attic. He wonders if a spirit might be living here. (The noise was actually the sari squirming, but Loeb doesn’t yet realize that the sari is alive.)
- “Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?” – James 4:5
James 4:6 (the sari in the toy room)
As you know, we’ve been making Loeb sit on a couple different things in various situations. The sari is nice and soft, so it’s the most comfortable of the objects for him to sit on. Also, now, in the toy room, he gets to sit on the sari on top of the teddy bear, which he thinks is even “more gracious”. It may not be nice for the teddy bear, but Loeb never liked that teddy bear anyway; he always thought it had a conceited look on its face. That’s how he justifies sitting on it. Loeb tells the teddy bear, “God opposes you, the proud, but gives grace to me, the humble.”
- “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” – James 4:6
James 4:7 (the sari on the spiral staircase)
Loeb always dreads going down that slippery spiral staircase. He’s particularly scared today, because he’s afraid the sari will make him slip or trip. But he finally convinces himself to submit to his duties and go down. But just as he does, the sari snags on the railing, tripping Loeb and almost pulling him down the stairs. Frightened, Loeb tries to resist the sari, pushing it away from himself and sending it sliding down the rail. But then he ends up tumbling down the stairs after it.
- “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
James 4:8 (the sari in the library)
This story has two parts.
First, Loeb is sitting on the sari on the library floor after going down the spiral staircase. He has landed on the sari. He wants to go sit on the big ottoman in the middle of the room, to get away from this sari, but he’s having trouble getting up because he’s sore from his trip down the stairs. He wishes the ottoman would come near, but it won’t come near to him until he comes near to it.
Second, Loeb notices that his brothers have left two cards out on the ottoman, two cards with double hearts, and now they’re all dusty. He’s angry at his brothers for letting his cards get dirty, so he yells, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!”
- “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” – James 4:8a
- “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8b
James 4:9 (the sari in Libby’s room)
When Loeb goes to Libby’s room, he finds her unwilling to get up. She isn’t a morning person. She feels so wretched in the early morning, she’s actually weeping at the thought of getting out of bed. Loeb sits down on the sari to think, but for some reason, after his tumble down the stairs, he finds the situation funny and starts laughing. This upsets Libby; she tells him, “turn your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
- “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.” – James 4:9
2. Remember these mnemonics stories that we learned before (2 minutes)