Read Introduction to James
“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
The previous verse spoke of business people who make plans without seeking God’s direction. They think they know the future so they play God. When we play God, we make 3 presumptions:
1) we think we can predict the future (4:14a),
2) we assume we will last forever (4:14b)
3) we presume that our plans are permanent (4:14c).
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.
The word “know” means to know well, to understand. The idea is to fix our attention on something, to understand the significance of something with certainty. No one is versed in knowing what will happen tomorrow.
Pr 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Only God knows the future. Man’s plans are always tentative. When we make plans without deference to God, we then operate on presumption toward God.
Is 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,…’”
Presumptuous planning without taking God’s providence into view is a recipe for disaster.
God is not against making business plans but He is down on presumptuous planning, planning that excludes His will. If man could anticipate the future so that he could figure out every contingency, then he would be a proud creature indeed. Man would not need God for he would be truly autonomous. However, man cannot leave God out of his calculations of the future for he is finite and God is infinite. He ought to humbly accept the hope of the providence of God on his life.
Life is full of surprises whether in politics, business, international affairs or our personal lives. Something might change our plans for life quickly. None of us can guarantee what will happen to us tomorrow.
God does not reveal the future to us. If He did, we would not be able to bear the full load. We could not deal with troubles all at once. By dealing with one disappointment at a time, we can manage them. We can trust God for each situation we face. We trust Him for what the future holds. That is why our Lord told us not to worry about tomorrow.
Mt 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
The opportunities of today may not be available tomorrow. We should not defer the opportunity of today to tomorrow if we want to take full advantage of that opportunity.