Strike A Chord

“My brothers count [it] all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the proving of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfective work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God, [who] gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For the [one] who doubts is like a wave of [the] sea, being driven by wind and being tossed; for do not let that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord [he is] a double-souled man, not dependable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8; underlining mine).

Thomas Manton (not a blanket-endorsement of Manton) thinks the wisdom lacked is not a general, but a specific wisdom or skill to bear afflictions (he connects “lacking nothing” with “if any of you lacks”).  Manton adds regarding verse five “that there is need of great wisdom for the right managing of afflictions” (Thomas Manton, Commentary on James, pp. 37, 39).

One might say:

“What true believer DOESN’T always lack wisdom?”

Relative to Romans 7 and indwelling sin there is a certain lack of wisdom.  But relative to the specific wisdom set forth in 1 Corinthians 1:24 and 1:30 there is not this lack of which Paul speaks, since those who DO LACK this specific wisdom are unbelieving, offended, and Christ-rejecting fools.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world [by] wisdom did not know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save the ones believing. And since Jews ask for a sign, and Greeks seek wisdom, we, on the other hand, preach Christ crucified (truly an offense to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks), but to the called out ones, both to Jews and to Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:21-24; underlining mine–CD).

To these precious brothers and sisters in the Lord — to the called out ones, both Jews and Greeks — Christ is the POWER of God and the WISDOM of God.  Those blessed with the wisdom of God (this wisdom is Christ Himself) may pray for the wisdom of James 1:2-8.  Believers do not all lack James 1:2-8 wisdom in the same way, respect, or degree.  But despite differences they pray a James 1:2-8 prayer to God through Jesus Christ for assistance in all kinds of afflictions and trials — as in the case of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-25:

“And after this it happened that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon came in, and with them from the Ammonites, to battle against Jehoshaphat. And they came in and spoke to Jehoshaphat, saying, A great multitude has come against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and, behold, they [are] in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set his face to seek to Jehovah, and proclaimed a fast over all Judah. And Judah was gathered to inquire of Jehovah; also they came in to seek Jehovah from all the cities of Judah. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of Jehovah, at the front of the new court, and said, O Jehovah, the God of our fathers, [are] not You the God in Heaven? Yea, You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand [is] power and might; and there is none able to withstand You. Are You not our God? You have driven out the inhabitants of this land from before Your people Israel, and have given it to the seed of Abraham, Your friend, forever; and they have lived in it, and have built in it a sanctuary to You for Your name, saying, If evil shall come upon us, [whether] sword, judgment, or pestilence and famine, we shall stand before this house and before You, for Your name [is] in this house, and shall cry to You out of our distress, and You shall hear and save. And now, behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not allow Israel to go against when they came out of the land of Egypt, (for they turned away from them and did not destroy them) yea, behold, they are repaying us by coming in to drive us out of Your possession, that You have caused us to possess. O our God, shall You not execute judgment upon them? For there is no power in us before this great multitude that has come against us, and we do not know what we shall do; but our eyes [are] on You.”

This God is the God of true believers — the God who actively rules over all the kingdoms of the nations.  And this is real sovereign ruling over nations and not the passive, partial, pretend “ruling” lying amid the rubble of Rebellious Potsherd Calvinism.

We are jars of clay; weak and brittle vessels.  But we have this treasure of the redemptive glory in the face of Jesus Christ that we may know the saving power is of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:1-7).  We know that the God-Man Mediator has delivered us from so great a death by His propitiating blood and imputed righteousness (Romans 3:24-26; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 Paul speaks of being burdened beyond measure and above strength, that “we despaired even of life.”  He adds that “we had the sentence of death in ourselves.”  Why this?

” … that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”

This is where believer’s pull out their Bibles and continue, reading verses 10 and 11.

Note some similarities between Paul and Jehoshaphat in what they said.  Both their eyes were on the One who is able to deliver His people from their enemies — this He WILL DO, in one way or another.  Whatever the enemy is or whoever the enemy is.

“And all Judah was standing before Jehovah, and their infants and their wives and their sons. And on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, the Spirit of Jehovah came on him in the midst of the assembly; and He said, Listen, all Judah, and [you] living in Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat; so says Jehovah to you, You shall not fear nor be terrified of the face of this great multitude, for the battle [is] not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, go down against them; behold, they are coming up by the ascent of Ziz, and you shall find them in the end of the valley, at the front of the wilderness of Jeruel. You shall not fight in this: station yourselves; stand and see the salvation of Jehovah with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; do not be terrified nor fear; tomorrow go out before them, and Jehovah [shall be] with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his nose to the earth, and all Judah and the [ones] living in Jerusalem fell down before Jehovah, to bow themselves to Jehovah. And the Levites, of the sons of the Kohathites, and of the sons of the Korahites, rose to give praise to Jehovah the God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Trust in Jehovah, stand firm; trust in His prophets and prosper. And he consulted with the people, and appointed singers to Jehovah, and those giving praise to the glory of holiness, when going out before those armed, and said, Give thanks to Jehovah, for His mercy [endures] forever. And at the time they began with rejoicing and praise, Jehovah set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, that had come against Judah; and they were stricken. And the sons of Ammon stood up, and Moab, against the people of Mount Seir, to devote and destroy; and when they finished with the [ones] living in Seir, they helped, each man against his neighbor, to destroy. And when Judah had come to the watchtower, to the wilderness, then they looked toward the multitude; and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and there was no survivor. And Jehoshaphat and his people came to seize their plunder; and they found among them in abundance both riches and valuable things [on the] corpses; and they stripped off for themselves until there was no carrying [it;] and they were three days plundering the spoil; for it was much.”

God’s people struck a chord of praise and God struck their enemies with confusion.  Sometimes God smites His enemies with sword and pestilence.  Here He smote them with a song of His people’s praise.