Wisdom to be Sought from God
James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.

1. What this wisdom is. It is the doctrine of the Cross here specified, namely, to endure patiently whatsoever God layeth upon us, and to know that God in singular love correcteth all those with the rod of affliction whom He purposeth to make heirs of His eternal glory. This to know is wisdom far greater than the wisdom of men. This wisdom standeth in two things —

(1) In knowledge, that we wisely understand the causes for which we are thus afflicted of God as that partly for the punishment of our sins, partly for the more manifestation and plain trial of our faith, partly for the advancement of God's greater glory, that thereby in the deliverance of men from their calamities He might be more glorified; finally, that hereby we being touched might repent, lest we perish with the world. Hereof to have true understanding is a great point of wisdom.

(2) As the wisdom how to bear the cross consisteth in knowledge of the ends wherefore it is inflicted, so also it consisteth in an inward feeling and judgment when in our hearts and consciences we have sense of the comfort of the Spirit which in afflictions of this life supporteth us and with assured hope of safe deliverance in due season under-proppeth us.

2. This wisdom is not a quality in nature, but a grace and an excellent girt of God; therefore of Him only is this wisdom to be sought, which the apostle to intimate willeth that if any man lack this wisdom he should ask it of God. To bear the cross patiently, to know the use of afflictions truly, to feel the comfort of the Spirit inwardly — this is wisdom not of man, but of God, not of ourselves, but from His heavenly goodness, from whom all wisdom floweth as from a fountain.

3. Patiently to bear the cross, wisely and well to behave ourselves in our afflictions, being a gift from God, what hope have we to obtain it by asking of Him? Three ways are we here to conceive hope of obtaining this wisdom from God.

(1) From the promise we have from God that He will hear when we call, open when we knock, give when we ask it of Him. Almighty God assureth us of this hope by His prophet, by whom He willeth us in the days of tribulation to call upon Him, with promise that He will hear us. In fine, He protesteth that He is more ready to hear us than we to call upon Him, and more willing to supply our need than we desirous to ask it at His hands.

(2) As from the promise that is made us that we shall obtain, so from the liberality of God we must conceive hope of obtaining the thing we pray for. God giveth to every man liberally. Shall He not give us wisdom who is liberal to all men? Shall we distrust His goodness who is rich to all that call upon Him? Shall we suspect His bountifulness which poureth out plentifully His blessings upon all flesh?

(3) We have hope to obtain this wisdom at the hands of God from the goodness of His nature. He giveth His gifts liberally to all men, and He upbraideth none, neither casteth any man in the teeth either with His benefits so plentifully poured upon us or with our beggarliness and miserable want whereunto we are subject; therefore is there great hope of obtaining the wisdom we pray for.

4. But how shall we ask this wisdom? How shall we pray for the gift of patience that we may obtain it? Ask it in faith, and waver not! Faith in all the prayers of God's saints is necessary, neither is there anything which more hindereth the grants of God towards man than when they doubt or waver in their prayers, distrusting either the power of God, as not able, or His goodness, as not willing to hear us in the days of our necessities, which distrustfulness is no small evil in the sight of God; neither is it a light matter to doubt of obtaining that thou desirest, whereby thy double heart and wavering mind is descried. Who in asking pretendest hope, in wavering distrustest either the power or promptness or readiness of God to give thee the desire of thy heart and to doubt either of His power or promptness and readiness of mind is great impiety, disloyalty, and ungodliness.

(R. Turnbull.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

WEB: But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him.

Wisdom to be Obtained from God Alone
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