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.
— James 1:5
Have you ever asked someone a question that you knew he or she could answer, but instead of being helpful with a clear response, that person skirted the issue and answered indirectly? In these situations, it may have appeared that the person was hiding his knowledge to retain a sense of control by keeping you in the dark. What an unpleasant experience, especially when you know that the person could just simply answer you!
This is the way many people wrongly perceive God. They know that He has the answers to their questions, but often they don’t believe He will actually answer them. In their minds, He dangles the answer before them and then jerks it back out of reach just as they attempt to take hold of it. They think this is the way God keeps people on their knees in a humbled position of supplication. But in fact, James 1:5 gives us five guarantees that God does not act like this at all!
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As we saw yesterday, God isn’t offended or upset when you ask Him for clarification on the issues you’re facing in life. In fact, He encourages you to come alongside Him and ask for the answers you lack. If you meet this requirement of drawing near to Him, pulling right up alongside His heart, James 1:5 says that God will answer you liberally. He’ll play no games with you once you meet this one condition when you ask.
James wrote that God “…giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” In this verse, we find five guarantees that God makes to those who seek answers to their questions.
- We are guaranteed that God “giveth.”
- We are guaranteed that God gives “to all men.”
- We are guaranteed that God gives “liberally.”
- We are guaranteed that God “upbraideth not.”
- We are guaranteed that answers “shall be given” to the one asking.
Let’s look at each one of these five guarantees.
- James 1:5 guarantees that when we ask for wisdom and we meet God’s condition of drawing close to Him, God will “give” us the answers we are falling short of. The Greek word used for “giveth” is didontos, a form of didomi, which means I give. But in this Greek case, the grammar does not describe the random, occasional act of God, but rather the regular behavior of God. In fact, the entire Greek phrase is tou didontos theou and is literally translated the giving God. Hence, God is not one who holds out on us when we need wisdom or information. He is, in fact, the giving God — one who is reputed for habitually giving answers to those who meet His conditions.
- James 1:5 guarantees that God gives “to all men.” This removes the uncertainty that God may answer some and not others. If God’s condition has been met — that is, if we have drawn near to His heart and come closely alongside Him — He will answer us, because each of us fits into that phrase “all men”!
- James 1:5 guarantees that God gives to all men “liberally.” This is the Greek word haplos. It denotes something that is bountiful. It actually portrays one who gives copiously, amply, extravagantly, generously, lavishly, liberally, plentifully, or richly. This is a person who has an open hand, as opposed to one who keeps a closed fist. Hence, God doesn’t dangle the bait before us and then quickly jerk it out of our reach. If we have met His conditions and pulled up alongside His heart, He reaches down with an open hand to give the answer we seek — and He gives us the answer bountifully.
- James 1:5 guarantees that God “upbraideth not.” This is a translation of the Greek phrase me oneididzontos. The word me is emphatic for not, while the word oneidodzontos is a form of the word oneinidzo, which means to berate, to censure, to correct, to rebuke, or to scorn. In other words, God is not going to get upset with you if you ask Him for answers. He will never berate, censure, correct, rebuke, or scorn you when you come alongside Him to receive wisdom.
- James 1:5 guarantees that answers “shall be given” to the one who is seeking them and who has fulfilled God’s conditions. The Greek tense used for “shall be given” makes this verse a promise. Even if you don’t know the answer right now, the answer that you seek will be given to you!
James 1:5 conveys this idea in the Greek:
“If you are short on the answers you need, insistently ask God for them. But God first requests that you come alongside Him. That is the one request He makes before He will provide the answers you seek Him for. God is the giving God. He is known for habitually answering those who seek answers from Him, and when He answers, He does so lavishly and with an open hand. He never berates, scolds, or scorns you for asking. One thing is for sure — answers will be given to you when you ask God’s way!”
Remember, God isn’t offended when you ask Him for clarification. He encourages you to ask! When He answers, you may not enjoy what He has to tell you, or you may not be mature enough to really understand it yet. But one thing is very clear: God likes it when you ask Him for His wisdom! So as you draw near to Him and ask in faith today, you better get ready to receive a bountiful, liberal, extravagant dose of divine insight and guidance for the path right up ahead!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
According to James 1:5, I should ask God for the answers I need for my life. So in agreement with this verse, today I’m asking for Your wisdom and guidance in every area of my life. Father, in Jesus’ name, I specifically ask You for answers. to my questions involving (fill in the blank) I receive Your grace to understand what You’re saying to me and to accept and apply Your wisdom to my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that God has thrown open the doors and has invited me to come boldly to ask Him for the wisdom and answers I need for my life. There is no need for me to be embarrassed or to fear that God will get upset with me for asking. He wants me to be informed, and He asks me to ask! So today I ask in faith and I declare that I receive answers to the questions I have posed to the Lord!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- When you’ve prayed in the past, were you able to come boldly and unashamedly to God, or did you feel too unworthy to approach Him like that? Did you wonder if you’d be reprimanded for getting too specific in asking for the answers you needed?
- Can you recall a time when you asked God for a specific, concrete answer, and He gave it to you? How did it affect you when you realized that God really answered you with the wisdom you needed for that moment?
- What do you need to know from the Lord right now? Have you gone to Him in prayer and confidently asked Him to direct you? Why don’t you make a list of things you need to know from the Lord and officially present it to Him in Jesus’ name?