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    August 29, 1895

    “He Upbraideth Not” The Signs of the Times, 21, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “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.SITI August 29, 1895, page 529.1

    In this statement of fact we have both encouragement and instruction-encouragement in approaching God, and instruction as to how we should treat those who are in need. We learn both lessons at once; for when we know how the Lord treats us, we know how we should treat others.SITI August 29, 1895, page 529.2

    The natural man’s first impulse when there is a case of need is to inquire if the one in need is worthy. How often when in trouble we have heard the reproachful and unfeeling remarks, “Well, you brought it all upon yourself; you are suffering no more than you deserve.” Often the best comfort our friends give us is, “If you had listened to me, you would have been saved this trouble. I gave you advice and help, and you neglected the advice and wasted the assistance, and now I have nothing more for you; you must get out of your difficulty the best way you can.” How many of us have used similar language! Job’s friends have many successors.SITI August 29, 1895, page 529.3

    Not so does God deal with the erring. If any lack wisdom, he giveth liberally, and “ upbraideth not.” He does not say, “You ought to have known better.” No doubt we ought, but that does not help us now. He supplies the need, and leaves his goodness to lead us to repentance, and to preserve us from similar errors in future.SITI August 29, 1895, page 529.4

    But one will say, “I know that I am to blame for the condition in which I find myself; I have brought all this evil upon myself, and so I have not the face to ask God to do anything more for me.” The promise of God was given for just such cases. If we were not to blame, there would be no need for the assurance that he upbraideth not. A just God would certainly not reproach us for what we could not help. The fact that he assures us that he upbraideth not is the encouragement to those who are blameworthy. We are worthy of blame, but reproaches will not supply our need. So it is enough for the Lord that we are now willing to receive wisdom from him. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. With this assurance we draw nigh in confidence.SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.1

    Here is the same blessed assurance made more emphatic. “Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.” Psalm 107:17-19.SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.2

    We bring ills of all kinds upon ourselves. Our own foolishness has brought both physical and spiritual sickness upon us. We ought to have known better, but we did not. That makes no difference; we may nevertheless draw near, and ask with boldness. God will not upbraid us, and he will surely give to us. The fact that we acknowledge our foolishness gives us a strong claim upon his wisdom. How can any soul be discouraged, or charge God with heartless indifference to the needs of his children?SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.3

    But this is not all. The same psalm has further comfort for us. Go back to the tenth verse and begin to read: “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High-therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.”SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.4

    In the former case we had God’s kindness in helping those whose calamity was the result of their own ignorance and folly; in this text we have God’s goodness to those who have rebelled against him, and who have despised his counsel. By their stubborn rebellion against his words, and their contemptuous rejection of his counsel, they have brought darkness and iron bondage upon themselves. They are chained in the dark cell. Yet in spite of their past rebellion, when they cry unto the Lord, he upbraideth not, but saves them out of their distresses, breaking their bonds, and bringing them out of the dark prison into light. “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.5

    In the parable of the prodigal son we have this characteristic of God beautifully illustrated. Read the fifteenth of Luke, and note these points: (1) The son had received his full allowance from his father. (2) He went away and squandered his portion in riotous living. (3) When he went back to his father, he had not a penny left, but was in rags, and starving. (4) His father received him back with joy, running to meet him “when he was yet a great way off.” (5) Not a word of reproach was uttered. The father’s heart yearned for his son, and he was glad to see him coming back; reproaches might have sent him away again in despair. It is only loving-kindness that draws. (6) But this was not all. It was not enough for the father to receive him without reproaches, and allow him henceforth to abide at home portionless. No, the prodigal was received as a son, and restored to the position that he had before he went away. He was a son, and therefore an heir.SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.6

    Behold in this a picture of God’s dealing with wayward souls. He has given us all things. He has supplied us bountifully. Having received his good gifts, instead of glorifying him with them, we have wasted them. He has received no better, and we have not been the gainers. With time and talents wasted, we cannot now render unto him the service that we ought to and that we wish we could. What then?—Why, he who redeems us teaches us also to redeem the time; he receives us as sons, makes us heirs of himself, and supplies all our need, “according to his riches in glory.” Philippians 4:19. Rejoiced that we are even now willing to serve him, he spends no time in reproaches, but renews his gifts to us as freely as though we had never been wayward, rebellious spendthrifts.SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.7

    “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” E. J. W.SITI August 29, 1895, page 530.8

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