Meditation: James 1:5-8
5If 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.
6But 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.
7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Do you remember as a child, asking your parents for a quarter so you could buy a gumball? Gumballs are bright, colorful and sweet. There is something about putting a quarter in a gumball machine and turning the knob that is very satisfying and fun. As a boy, I remember frequently asking the question, “Dad, can I have a quarter for a gumball?” This is a simple question, and seems almost as simple as the question that we see in James 1:5-8, “God, can I have wisdom?”
You know as well as I, that wisdom from God is in no way on the same level as a gumball from mom or dad. However, verse 5 does seem quite simple: “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.” Someone might read this verse, go kneel by their bed, “ask” God for wisdom and wonder why they aren’t as wise as Solomon the next morning. When we take a closer look at this verse, we see that the word, “ask” comes from the Greek word, “aiteo,” which also means to beg, call for, crave, desire, require. Therefore, a prerequisite of acquiring wisdom is craving or longing for it. As a college guy, a perfect comparison for me, is that of food. Do I crave for God’s wisdom as I do my next meal? J
At the end of verse 5, we find a comfort and a clue. We are comforted by the fact that God will not criticize us for admitting that we need wisdom (The word “reproach” comes from the Greek word “oneidizo,” meaning to defame, rail at, chide or taunt), and we are clued into the fact that we must be humble in order to receive wisdom. I don’t believe that God is going to grant someone wisdom who doesn’t admit that they are nothing without Him.
Verses 6-8 speak very strongly against people who doubt God’s ability to grant wisdom. My attention is grabbed when the author says that a person who doubts is unstable in all his ways, and won’t receive anything from the Lord. This is definitely a reminder of God’s perfection and righteousness.
In a nutshell, what does this passage mean to me?
God is wisdom > I lack wisdom > God gives wisdom > I need wisdom > God will give wisdom if I ask for it > I need to ask God for wisdom, knowing that He can grant it.