He Upbraideth Not
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 (KJV)
I bet you’ve read that verse dozens of times. Most of the time we focus our attention on the fact that we can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. However, there is a phrase in that passage that we often skim over without giving it much thought: upbraideth not.
What does that mean exactly? The old English language of the King James Version can cause us to miss some wonderful truths if we don’t stop to investigate them. Here is that same verse in several other translations or versions. I have emphasized the words used for upbraideth not in each one so you can easily see them.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (New American Standard Bible, NASB)
But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. James 1:5 (New Century Version, NCV)
But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (New English Translation, NET)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (New International Version, NIV)
And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace. James 1:5 (The Passion Translation, TPT)
If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. James 1:5 (The Voice, VOICE)
God will give us the wisdom we asked for and He will do so without reproaching us, criticizing us, reprimanding us, finding fault with us, or scolding us. He won’t see our lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold us over our failures. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to shout! How many times have we gotten ourselves in a pickle, went to someone for advice or help, and all we got from them was a lecture about how we should have known better? Well, God doesn’t operate that way. If we have come to the point where we know we need the wisdom of God, then He has no reason to reprimand us over our situation. He’s just glad we have realized we need Him and His wisdom. Will God correct us at times? Yes, of course He will. But it is not a correction to put us down and show us how wrong we are about something; it is a correction to get us to see how right He can make things if we will follow His lead.
God does not scold or criticize us, but I’ll tell you who will: the devil. He has demons assigned to each person to continually accuse us and try to condemn us for our mistakes, failures and shortcomings. And some of us have even helped him with that. When we continually accept the scolding and reporach of the enemy because we have gotten ourselves in a scrape, we short-circuit the wisdom of God. And if we listen to him long enough, the enemy won’t even need to keep accusing us because we will have gotten into such a habit of agreeing with him that he can take a break- simply because we scold and condemn ourselves so much that he no longer has to do it!
God is not some abusive Father who wants to find our weaknesses and throw them in our faces. He loves us and wants to bless us and help us grow. He will give us wisdom for our situation so we can find the best solution. He upbraideth not.