STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
“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. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
The Lord in His goodness pours out upon us countless blessings every day, even without our asking. While this is so, when we are faced with a particular need, He invites us to ask Him for help.
In the case of those James was addressing, that needed blessing was wisdom. These believers were experiencing difficult trials that were hard to bear. They quite naturally had questions, fears, and doubts on account of them. Why did these difficulties befall them? Was God angry with them for some dark misdeed? What was God’s purpose for these dealings?
Job knew exactly what this was like, as he suffered some of the most trying times imaginable. In the space of a short period of time, Job, who had been highly blessed in material possessions and family members, lost nearly everything. And then he was faced with a quandary of why all this had happened to him.
While his friends were no help in finding a good answer, Job did not throw up his hands in despair. He knew that he needed wisdom from God in order to make any sense out of all this (see Job 28:12-28).
The blessing of wisdom involves attaining true knowledge and understanding of God, His will, and His ways. These we can apply to many different situations in life.
In asking God for wisdom, we shouldn’t expect it to fall out of the sky. Solomon, whom God blessed with the greatest wisdom of all, reveals to us, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) In addition to receiving wisdom through the Books of Wisdom (Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes), we gain most-helpful knowledge and understanding throughout Holy Scripture.
Whenever we approach the throne of God for help, such as when we ask for wisdom, the Word of God impresses upon us that we need to ask in faith. We must have confidence that God will hear our pleas, that He has the power to grant answers to our pleas, and that He will supply what we need.
If we were to come to Him with the attitude of “Well, what have I got to lose by asking?” or “Maybe He will give attention to my request,” or “God couldn’t possibly have the power to grant my plea,” we shouldn’t expect Him to grant what we request.
The Lord has made us wonderful promises. They give us every reason to have total trust that He will hear and answer all our prayers, grant us those requests that accord
with His will for us, and supply all our needs (see Matthew7:7-8; 21:22; Psalm 50:15; 145:18).
It is also important to remember that wisdom involves applying what we have learned. Solomon discovered this the hard way. For while God gave him superior wisdom, Solomon’s great downfall lay in not always applying it to his personal life.
Finally, the greatest form of wisdom is found in Paul’s letter to Timothy, “that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim.3:15)
May the Lord richly bless us with wisdom, both for our benefit and for those with whom we share this planet.
Mark Gullerud is a retired pastor. He and his wife live in Sunnyvale, California.