Most of us have found ourselves at the point of crying out for help at one time or another, but it’s usually the last resort. We commonly try every device known to man to escape admitting that we need help! James takes the word “lacking” from verse 4 and ties it to verse 5, reminding us that the prerequisite to obtaining help with our troubles is to realize that we lack sufficient wisdom to sort them out! The only way that we will be able to understand these trials and respond to them properly is to ask for the wisdom God alone can give.
When our friends and loved ones are going through trials, we may think we see what God is doing through the ordeal. But when we are the sufferers, when we are going through the fire, it is very difficult to be as wise. This is why we are to ask God for wisdom.
As James motivates troubled believers to seek wisdom, he describes God in such a way as to make us wonder why we wait so long to reach out for His help.
God is Good
The Scriptures affirm that God is the source of true wisdom (read again James 1:17 and Job 12:13).
Paul prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom” (Eph. 1:17). This God who is the source of wisdom gives to all men. He is good and is not partial to any. He will always answer the prayer for wisdom. He never turns away a request. He may not always answer on our time schedule… but He always answers!
God is Generous
James says that God gives to all men liberally. The word liberal has two meanings associated with it. The first means “to stretch out” and pictures God stretching or spreading out His table of wisdom. The way God dispenses His wisdom to those who ask is by lavishly pouring out to them the full supply of that which they need.
The second meaning teaches the method of His giving. Liberally is also translated “singly.” God is the opposite of the double-minded man mentioned in James 1:8. God gives His wisdom simply, plainly, straightforwardly, and individually to all who will ask of Him.