Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? – 13

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (Jas. 1:5, ESV). James gives a command here—“ask God for wisdom.” Then he says 3 wonderful things about God here. 1st, God gives wisdom to His people in the midst of trials. 2nd, God gives wisdom generously. 3rd, God gives wisdom without reproach. It is a present tense here. James is commanding us to keep on asking God for wisdom.

In times of troubles, we may go to other people for their wisdom. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established” (NKJV, cf. 24:6). But the Bible commands us to go to God first for wisdom; because God is the God of wisdom.

James also said that this God of wisdom gives wisdom. The verb, “gives,” is present participle—“giving.” This means that while we ask God for wisdom, God is giving wisdom continually. He keeps on giving wisdom to those who ask for it. He gives wisdom constantly if you ask for it.

Not only that. God also gives wisdom “generously.” The adverb, “generously,” is from haplos—“willing and generous giving” (Louw-Nida); “bountifully” (Strong). I just love this about God. If you ask for His wisdom, He will give you willingly and generously, bountifully.

Finally, God gives wisdom “without reproach” (Jas. 1:5, ESV). “Reproach” here is from oneidizo—“manifestation of displeasure or regret which too often accompanies the giving of a gift” (BAGD); “denounce, insult” (Newman); “to reproach someone, with the implication of that individual being evidently to blame” (Louw-Nida). “Reproach” here is not a noun, but a present participle—“reproaching,” which indicates a continuing action of blaming or regretting the giving of a gift. James is saying, “While you ask God for wisdom, He is giving you wisdom, without reproaching you.”

Have you experienced giving somebody money, only to regret it later. Have you tried asking your boss about something? Then he tells you that you can’t have what you asked; because you haven’t earned it yet. Have you been to a doctor who tells you he will help you. But in the next breath, he blames you for your past abuse of your body?

It’s like the infamous exhibitionist, Hayden Kho, asking for forgiveness from all of us, for all his vulgarity and voyeurism. Then we respond, “That’s your fault!”

James said that God is not like that. He does not say, “Okay, I will give you wisdom. But you’ve been ungrateful in the past.” When God gives wisdom to you in times of trials, He does not blame you for your past sins. He does not get back at you for your past ingratitude. He does not say also, “Okay, I will give you wisdom.  But if you keep asking, you might abuse my goodness later on.” God does not blame you for your past ingratitude or your future abuse of His privileges.[1] God gives wisdom to you without blaming you or reprimanding you or insulting you. What a gracious God we serve!

[1] Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, and David Brown, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, Power Bible CD.



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