Sunday, 17 July 2022

God Has Chosen

 Scripture:  1 Corinthians 1 v 24 - 29: "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29  That no flesh should glory in his presence."

On the world stage people who have great strength, superior status, multiple billions of dollars, Hollywood lifestyles, are glorified and emulated.  They are held up as worthy and wonderful until they fall, and as we know pride goes before a fall.

The Pharisees in Paul's day, were full of pride and hypocrisy and he, himself, was one of the worst of that sect.  So when he had had his dramatic conversion in the dust of the Damascus Road, in the presence of Jesus, the scales fell off his eyes and he saw the uselessness of status in God's eyes.

Phillipians 3 v 5 - 8: "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"

Paul knew he had to offload every worldly gain to walk in the victory of Jesus Christ.  He was chosen by God because he was an expounder of the Law of Moses, and he knew when he was in the dust at Jesus' feet, that it counted for nothing.  All the worldly power and accomplishments were not going to get him or anyone through the pearly gate.

God has chosen the people who are rejected and despised to enhance this message.  Those who are too lofty in their own ideals have to climb down from that high horse to hear truth.  Like Paul rolling in the dust we must all become humble because no flesh shall glory in His presence.

Sometimes, quite often, the victory over our flesh is only accomplished in trials and tribulations.  We are faced with a problem that cannot be solved except by divine intervention.  How ever long it takes to come to Paul's realisation of the majesty of Jesus Christ, and the loss of all pride, that's our Cross to bear.

The Lord sends the foolish, weak and despised people across our path because that's how He was treated by the proud.  It was prophesied in Isaiah 53 v 2 - 5: " For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 
4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

When we are confronted by this type of rejected and despised person whom we don't want near us for very long, think again, because you cannot say you love Jesus one bit more than you love him or her.  Paul knew this too and wrote about it to his friend Philemon, whose runaway slave, Onesimus, had gotten saved by Paul, in chains in Rome, and was now a brother in the Lord.  He didn't want the slave to be punished.

Philemon v 9 - 11: "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10  I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11  Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:"

God has chosen the weak to confound the mighty.  I was in a church where there was a man with a cleft palate whose speech was mostly unintelligible.  The pastor chose this man to open the meeting in prayer.  We understood not a word but the glorious anointing that came down upon us that day needed no further explanation.  

In Isaiah's prophecy he says about Jesus, we hid our faces from Him.  We did not want to have any association with Him.  Even Peter after Jesus was arrested, denied knowing Him three times.  Jesus even told him, before the clock crows you will deny me three times.  Peter wept bitterly for that betrayal.

Let us be slow to judge the undesirable servants of the most High God, for with the same measure we judge them, so will He judge us.  We are here to love one another, to care for and bless those less fortunate, to receive them as brothers and sisters of our own family, the family of God.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, forgive us every thought, word, or deed that has offended Your despised brethren.  Open our eyes to see Jesus in the heart of all Your children.  Have mercy upon us for our sharp tongues that criticise and provoke lesser mortals to our shame.  Change us o Lord into humble, gentle, loving brethren. In Jesus' name.  Amen.