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If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Old Scottish Proverb

What indeed is a wish? The word appears in one form or another 9 times in your King James Bible. In 8 of those times it is a verb, and one time it is a noun. To understand the word, it is significant to realize that men wish, God does not wish. To wish is to exercise or express the will in something that you do not have the power to perform.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth, 3rd John 1:2. It was John's will that Gaius to whom he wrote would be in good health and that he prosper. Yet, he had no power to make that happen. Therefore his will was exercised as a wish.

That simple distinction, the desire of a saint being expressed as a wish for which he himself has no power to make happen is obscured in the new versions.

ESV: Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

NIV: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

What our King James Bible has done is to pierce beyond the simple act of praying for someone's health and shown us the inward desire of the person wishing. The new versions are dull clumsy swords that cannot distinguish between the perfunctory rote prayers that are so often prayed in churches and the deep inward desire of the person so praying. In our King James Bible we see more than John's prayer. We see his true motive.

We see that above any other desire that John had that was beyond his power to perform, he desired that Gaius should be in good health and that he should prosper. We all have friends and acquaintances who pray for our health and prosperity. How many of us have such friends who wish for that health and prosperity more than anything else for which they desire? Oh, the perfection of a King James Bible!

It should be obvious why God never wishes. There is nothing that he desires nor wills to happen that he does not have the power to make happen. That may confuse some people who look at such verses as 2nd Peter 3:9; The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. If he is not willing that any should perish, why do some perish? They perish because in the will of God, he allows men to exercise their own wills against him to their own destruction.

That does not mean that he could not override their will. Our bible is full of occasions where God does exactly that by hardening men's hearts. It means that by the choice that God made, men can resist his will. They do it all the time. At any time that he wanted that to stop, he could. God never wishes, he wills. Men wish, sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. They wish when they have a desire that they are powerless to perform.

Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil, Psalm 40:14. Many may desire our hurt. If God places a hedge around a person, or a family, or a church, or a nation then there is no outside power that can hurt them. When their evil desire turns to action, it is because God has empowered men to change their wishes into action. It is now no longer a wish, it is a will driven by a malevolent power.

Men of God can wish for good. For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection, 2nd Corinthians 13:9. There can be few higher desires for a man of God than to see his people perfected. Regardless of how much the man of God desires and wills for that perfection in those to whom he ministers, it is beyond the power of his will. It rests in their will. Through their own slackness or disobedience, some never come to perfection. The man of God can desire their perfection with all of his might, but it remains a wish. It remains a desire that he has, but lacks the ultimate power to make it happen.

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