Wisdom, foolishness- which is it for you?

Our Stream of Water this week is from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. This is a powerful portion of scripture as it answers the questions so many unbelievers ask, “How can you believe in God? How can you believe all that ‘stuff’?” Verses 18-19 tell us the cause of this problem, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,  and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” The unbeliever sees the truths of God, the cross and the resurrection as foolishness. No one or nothing can change this until they encounter God himself and turn to Him. God will continue to thwart their foolish plans and continue to woo sinners unto himself. God desires that all come to know Him and that none should perish! (2 Peter 3:9) Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers to keep on preaching and giving out the truth of the gospel. Because when the unbeliever opens themselves to God, they can experience His love and power in their lives. As believers we know the truth of verse 25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” By far, God is stronger and wiser than any thing, circumstance or person we will ever encounter and wiser than all He has created.

Knowing God is wise, why would He give the message of hope and salvation to us to give out? Why us? How did we become plan A for making Him known to the world? Verses 27-28 give us part of His reasoning “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. ” God did not want anyone to boast about ‘saving the world’. He chose to use the weak, us as frail flawed humans, so that when we accomplish things for Him we will know for sure that God is the one who enables, provides and directs. God wraps up this discussion through Paul in verse 30-31, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” Only Jesus, the perfect sinless Son of God could save us. Through Him we receive His righteousness, sanctification and redemption for ourselves and all those we pass on the message of the gospel. We cannot brag about doing the Lord’s work, winning people to Christ or saving anyone. It is all Christ working through us.

May the truth of God’s Word cause you to continue giving out the gospel confident in God’s ability to save any who will turn to Him.

Linda

Entire passage: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 “

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,  not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Are you doubting God? Careful…He knows.

Our story continues today in Luke 1:18-22 with Zechariah, the priest, talking with the angel Gabriel.  His first words to the angel were words of doubt.  He doubted God’s ability to make a child happen for he and Elizabeth.  His doubting heart and words of disbelief brought condemnation from Gabriel in the form of muteness that would last until the child was born.

zechariah hold on“Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.  19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

After leaving the temple, the people Zechariah met could tell he had seen a vision and realized he could not speak.  Consider Elizabeth’s reaction to the impossible news, “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25  By contrast Elizabeth accepted as possible the impossible since it came from God.

What is your reaction to God’s power, His plans, His blessings?   Do you doubt that God can do what He promises?  Do you question His plans?  Do you accept His blessings with grace?  God knows our hearts.  There is no hiding from Him or disguising our motives, tone or real feelings.  Being honest with God, brings immediate blessing and a lightness to our souls.

Where do we see God in today’s story?  We definitely see God’s power to make Zechariah temporarily mute,  but we also see God’s Omniscience;  He is all-knowing.  God knew what was in Zechariah’s heart, what his doubts were about His power and ability to make things happen as He ordained.  God is Omniscient meaning He is never surprised by things that happen, He know all there is to know and nothing can or is hidden from Him. David described God’s Omniscience in Psalm 139:1-4 “You have searched me, Lord, Omniscient and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;  you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue  you, Lord, know it completely.”  David knew what Zechariah forgot that God knows all and can do all things.  Zechariah let his human doubts cloud his judgement as he spoke with Gabriel.

As you ponder this story today, look at your heart.  Is your response one of faith and trust in our Omniscient God?   Be honest with God and open yourself to trust in His loving care and blessings of peace and assurance will flood your soul.

Linda

All-Knowing God provides Victory!

daniel 2 20Daniel 2:20-23 gives Daniel’s praise to God after having received the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.   Daniel and all the wise men of the kingdom were going to be killed if the meaning of the King’s dream was not revealed.   Upon receiving the King’s death threat, Daniel went to his believing friends in the palace and asked them to pray concerning this mystery asking God to reveal the meaning of the King’s dream so they might be saved.  Here is Daniel’s response after God revealed the dream’s meaning to him in a vision.      Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel begins by praising God for who He is- the Sovereign Eternal God of the universe with all things, people and circumstances within His control.  He praised God’s knowledge and wisdom and His ability to reveal things to those who love Him.   He praised God’s purity, and that in Him there is no darkness.  Daniel thanks God for revealing His wisdom to Him and for letting him know what the King’s dream was about, thereby saving him.

who-is-godDo you know who God is?  Do you praise Him for His glorious character  and for how He has kept all His promises?   Try incorporating  praise for who God is into your prayers today.  List His attributes so you can think about Him as you pray.   The more we love and know God the greater our trust in Him will be.

Linda