Wisdom; January 21, 2022

1 Cor 1:20, 25 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

This is a fundamental truth we see displayed around us all the time. We see atheists, and even some “theologians,” with all sorts of letters after their names make pronouncements about God, to the point of absurdity. There is much that can be learned about the physical universe through research and study, and we can even learn things about God through observing the natural world, (Romans 1:20) but conceit is incredibly blinding. The moment we think we can be wise, or strong or any other good thing, without God, we become utterly stupid and weak. I have always liked a Japanese proverbial expression, “acorns comparing height,” when it comes to human pride. As Paul says later in this same letter, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) Even if our facts are accurate, they need to be rooted in God and expressed in love, or they are “a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1) Again, as God told Paul personally, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) It is when we acknowledge our own foolishness that God’s wisdom is manifested through us, and it is when we acknowledge our own weakness that God’s strength is manifested through us. Knowledge isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t the final answer. Even if something is “true,” empirically speaking, God still has the final say. Recognizing that is the essence of “the fear of the Lord,” that Proverbs so wisely tells us is “the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

As I have written many times, intellectual conceit has been a major snare for me. This passage hits very close to home! I come from a line of scholars, with both my grandfathers having doctorates and my father getting his at the tender age of 23. For that matter, not only my mother but both of my grandmothers were college graduates, which in those days was rare for women. The mercy in that was that all of the people mentioned loved God and were committed to following Him. That’s where real wisdom comes in. I have many scholars among my relatives of the succeeding generations. Some have adhered to the wisdom of God and some have not, in some cases sadly so. I have learned the hard way that genuine success is not a function of IQ or academics but of a heart that is humble before God, seeking to know and obey Him. I desire for God’s wisdom and power to be manifested through me, but for that to happen I have to realize that mine are worthless compared to His, and submit myself to Him in full obedience.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the good, productive day yesterday. Thank You for the times of fellowship with You as I was driving. Thinking about it, I’m sure that was connected to the other good things that happened. You have given me a message on Fellowship with Christ for this coming Sunday. May I walk in that indeed, today and every day, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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