Scripture: Job, chapter 33; 1 Corinthians, chapters 1-3
1 Corinthians 1:22-31 (NASB):
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than mankind, and the weakness of God is stronger than mankind.
For consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the insignificant things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no human may boast before God.
But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written: “LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
“No human may boast before God.” I think that’s a good reminder to us as we participate in Election Day here in the United States. We’ve heard politicians of every stripe telling us either how great a job they’ve done or how great a job they will do. (They’ve also tried to scare us into voting for them and against their opponents, but I’ve talked enough about that recently.) That is the way the world operates. It should not surprise us.
But for followers of Jesus it is not that simple. First, God has not called us to follow Jesus because of how smart or talented or powerful or rich we may be. He called us. He created us to be in a relationship with Him. Apart from Him, we are unfulfilled and incomplete. We try to find fulfillment in all those other things – wisdom or talent or power or money. None of those things can complete us.
Well, those who’ve chosen to follow Jesus understand all that. So we come to the second point: not only are we not to boast in ourselves, but we should also be wary of others who do. “Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1:20). Paul brings this point home even more clearly in verse 29: So that no human may boast before God.
God has chosen the foolish and weak things
That brings us to the third point. We tend to put our trust in people who are wise, or dynamic, or wealthy, or talented. Those qualities are not infallible indicators that God is using or approving someone. For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. Instead of assuming that God is working through those who demonstrate these human qualities, we should look for how God might be working in unexpected ways to bring His purposes to pass.
It’s important for us to remember that God’s ways are not our ways. None of us would have created a plan for God to send His Son to earth to die. The message of the cross is a stumbling block to Jews, because the Law says that anyone who is hanged on a tree is cursed. The message of the cross is foolishness to unbelievers, because it makes no sense that Almighty God would send His Son to be humbled and beaten and killed for the sake of those who reject Him. But God’s offer of salvation is not based on human wisdom; it is based on love. That is the way that God has chosen, and it is the way He calls us to follow.
Father, thank You for showing Your love to us. It doesn’t make sense from a human perspective, but it is perfectly consistent with Your character. You demonstrated Your love for us by sending Jesus to die for us, even though we rebelled against You. Help us to follow His example of self-giving love: “Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” May we not boast in anything other than You, and may we not trust in anything or anyone other than You. Amen.