Sunday, August 10, 2014

God chose weakness

When God acts in this world, he often chooses a way that surprises us: he often chooses weakness.

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. (I Cor 1:27)
  • When God chose a patriarch for his ancient people, he chose a man so old you'd expect he could no longer have children, and his wife who was beyond the years of childbearing.
  • When God chose to wrestle with Jacob (or to send an angel to wrestle with Jacob, for those who believe that is the best interpretation), he chose a human form that was no stronger than Jacob's. In fact, the form chosen was so equally-matched to Jacob that the wrestling match lasted all night. That is to say: God isn't trying to overpower us. Does anyone doubt he could overpower us if he wanted, that God could be an irresistible force? But at times like that, it looks like he has no interest in overpowering us.
  • When God chose one of Jesse's sons to be the king of Israel, he chose the youngest.
  • When God wanted to speak with the prophet who was fleeing for his life, he sent a still, small voice. He made a point of showing that he rejected the more powerful alternatives of earthquake, wind, and fire.
  • When God chose an apostle to the Gentiles, he chose Paul, a man who later counted himself  "worst of sinners" in those days before God called him. 
  • When God made Paul his chosen instrument, he did not remove all of Paul's physical infirmities. Not only did God decline to heal Paul despite his prayers, he also told him,
    "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is perfected in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9)
  • When God chose the parents of John the Baptist, he chose the old man Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, who was barren. 
  • When God chose a mother for Jesus, he chose humble Mary. 
  • When God chose a birthplace for Jesus, he chose some sort of place where the animals stayed. 
  • And to cap them all: When God chose the redemption of the world, he chose the cross. 

And Paul explained it:
The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (I Cor 1:25)
Why wouldn't God use his strength? I think it's because "overwhelming force" is not the right tool for every job. You may have heard the saying, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, then you treat everything as if it were a nail." But we're not a nail, and God has more tools than a hammer.

Update: Martin LaBar has a poster on the topic, and has kindly granted his permission for a link::


Martin LaBar said...

Here's a poster on the same subject, more or less, based on verses 27-29 of the same chapter of 1 Corinthians:

Weekend Fisher said...

Hey, Martin, would you mind if I gave you a proper link up in the main portion of the post? With attribution, naturally. I do enjoy your posters. (Kiwi fruit? Good effect though.)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

Please do.