But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. 1Corinthians 1:27a
This does not mean that those chosen men of God are foolish. It means they seem foolish to the world. They are not weak; they are weak in the estimation of the world. This is God’s method. The more primitive the material, the greater—if the same standard of art can be reached—the honor of the Master; the smaller the army, the mightier—if the same great victory can be won—the praise of the conqueror, our great God.
God used trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho. He reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 to rout the armies of Midian. He used an ox goad in the hand of Shamgar to defeat the Philistines. With the jawbone of a donkey, He enabled Samson to defeat a whole army. And our Lord fed over 5,000 with nothing more than a few loaves and fishes.
To make up what someone has called “God’s five-ranked army of fools,” Paul adds the base things of the world and the things which are despised and the things which are not. Using such unlikely materials, God brings to nothing the things that are. In other words, He loves to take up people who are of no esteem in the eyes of the world and use them to glorify Himself. These should serve as a rebuke to Christians who curry the favor of prominent and well-known personages and show little or no regard for the humbler saints of God.
Is Christianity against rational thinking? Christians clearly do believe in using their minds to weigh the evidence and make wise choices. Paul is declaring that no amount of human knowledge can replace or bypass Christ’s work on the cross. If it could, Christ would be accessible only to the intellectually gifted and well educated and not to ordinary people or children.
Paul continues to emphasize that the way to receive salvation is so simple that any person who wants to can understand it. Skill and wisdom do not get a person into God’s Kingdom—simple faith does. So no one can boast that personal achievements helped him or her secure eternal life. Salvation is totally from God through Jesus’ death. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; we need only to accept what Jesus has already done for us.
God’s purpose in choosing those of no account in the eyes of the world is that all the glory should accrue to Himself and not to man. Since salvation is entirely of Him, He alone is worthy to be praised.
Lord, help us to trust Thee with a simple faith alone. How true it is that, we conquer not by earthly power, nor by might, but trust in Thee and Thine Holy Spirit alone. Amen.

Daniel Ooi

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