Messing with the Wise
Saturday - February 20th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 3:13-18
God chose the foolish things of the world
to shame the wise; God chose the weak things
of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:27
God used a donkey to rebuke the wayward prophet Balaam. The animal directly spoke to the man of God, expressing its frustration at Balaam for beating it when an angel stood in the road blocking the path. The prophet engaged in an angry discussion with his donkey. God used a foolish donkey to shame the wise prophet.
A crazy man named Noah spoke of God's impending judgment on humanity via a flood. He built a large boat to be used by God to save the animal kingdom. Friends and neighbors believed Noah was crazy - that is until the rain fell and the waters rose. Those who had been wise in their own eyes and mocked Noah and his sons now needed Noah's help. Judgment had indeed fallen on those who would have been considered wise.
The wealthy and powerful Syrian general, Naaman, heeded the instructions of Elisha the prophet and dipped in the Jordan River seven times to be healed of leprosy. At first, in his pride, he refused. From Naaman's perspective, the prophet could have just healed him. What seemed so foolish humbled the general. Humanly speaking, Naaman had wisdom. But, God showed that earthly wisdom could not compare to His wisdom
Jesus said, "Come," and Peter got out of the boat in the middle of the storm. He took steps walking on water toward Jesus. Eleven other disciples stayed in the boat where human understanding would suggest it would be much safer. Peter knew it was wise to take Christ at His word.
Whether you look at stories in the Old or New Testaments, you will find narratives that confound human wisdom while revealing the wisdom of God. God loves to mess with those who think they are wise.
James 3:13-18 makes it clear that there are two distinct sources of wisdom available to us. One is "earthly, sensual, and demonic" (James 3:15). The other, the one from above, is "pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17). It would seem the choice would be obvious and clear. But, we gravitate to the earthly, sensual, and demonic.
God sets our natural, human wisdom on its head. He shames those among us determined to be wise.
Are you pursuing the wisdom that flips the script? Are you seeking the wisdom that comes from God?
God messes with those who we celebrate as humanly wise. He shames them. Seek His wisdom!