Our text from 1st
Corinthians 1: 20 and 21, and Isaiah 29, verse 14, prompts us to reflect on our own limitations, and to ask: Can we learn from our mistakes or errors, or do we tend to trap ourselves with other people, like the blind leading the blind? Do we know what is true wisdom and knowledge? The world sees wisdom and knowledge in its scholarship, its achievements, and recognizes it with letters and numbers before and after one's name. But as Believers in the all-wise GOD, our Father, His holy Word reminds us that only God's wisdom prevails. Some 700 years earlier, it is written:
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'
In this first Century Church, at the time of the Jewish apostles, it was considered that all worldly wisdom, or learning, was hopeless, and a hindrance to Church building. When we look at 1st Corinthians 2, verses 4 and 5, we read these words of the Apostle Paul:
'And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of GOD. Yet in this post-apostolic age, the aim, it seems, of all the various churches, is to prefer the wisdom of the world; filling themselves to overflowing and learned scholars teach the Letter of Holy Scriptures in the power of human wisdom.
It is sad to see a church, once burning with heavenly love, being literally devoured by division, bitterness, envy, pride, strife, hatred and persecutions, springing forth with as much strength among GOD's professing peoples, as from idolatrous and pagan practices. And the Scripture continuously warns us that it must inevitably be so, as long as there is any trust in the wisdom and knowledge that is not entirely received from the Spirit of GOD.
But let us look at it from yet another perspective. The wise among us say, 'Must there be no learning or scholarship; no erudition, knowledge through study in GOD's believing congregations? Is there no other thought or gain by the Gospel besides salvation? It's ministers teaching no other doctrines but those taught by Messiah and His apostles? Are there not other things for us, but the full denial of self; poverty of spirit; meekness, humility, patience, never-ceasing love; renunciation of vanities of the world; a total dependence upon the Heavenly Father? Can we not find joy, or rejoicing without the Holy Spirit? Is there no other wisdom, other than from GOD; no walking but as Christ walked?'
The words of the Preacher are clear. Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1, verses 2 and
'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! What profit has a man from all this
labour in which he toils under the sun?' Now let us see the positive side.
'But blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness.' (Matthew
5: 6). Those who seek just the truth in GOD's Word; who own no Master but the
LORD, YESHUA JESUS; no teacher but the Holy Spirit, and who are unable to join
with the contenders after worldly wisdom; as with those who
'Labour for the
'Give their money for that which is not bread.' (Ecclesiastes
5, verse 16; and Isaiah 55, verse 1).
To look in any other direction other than toward GOD for wisdom, knowledge and understanding, except in the leading of the Holy Spirit, is to give oneself up to darkness. We can surely understand from the Scripture that the natural man, the man without GOD, the things of GOD by virtue of it, are mere foolishness. That only His Spirit can enable us to know all Truth;
'For He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said unto you.' (John 14, verse 26).
May I bring to your attention the fact that none of the apostles at the time of Pentecost were considered particularly educated? And it was attested that they were 'Galileans', known then as just low working-class people. And after the events in the Upper Room, these so-called 'ignorant men' were all
'Filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And the crowd marvelled and said, 'Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? How is that we hear each in our own language in which we were born?' (Acts 2, verses 4, 7 and 8). From that moment on, the apostles were new men, beaming with a new light, inflamed with new love; living in the daily experience of a new kingdom, the kingdom from heaven. They preached not some absent, or distant thing, but YESHUA Ha'Mashiach, JESUS the Messiah, as the wisdom and power of GOD enthroned in their hearts; manifesting His Words and works in their being. It was to the manifest miracle in them of this new life and indwelling Spirit bringing certain immediate deliverance from the power of sin, and by gifts and graces of heavenly life that men were then called.
'Men and brethren, what shall we do?', was the urgent call to the apostles from the people.
'Repent, believe and receive the gift from GOD of His Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are afar off; as many as the LORD our GOD will call.' (Acts 2: 38 and 39). These words, at that time, were given to the Jewish people, who had come to Jerusalem from the many parts of the Roman Empire. And these words are just as meaningful and as powerful today to the descendants of these Jewish people, (of course, not forgetting the Gentiles.)
And the preachers of these inspired Words, all witness not to a thing that they had heard or read about, or apprehended in their minds; but to a power of Salvation; a reward of Life; a birth of Heaven; a flaming Divine love; a sanctification of the Spirit which they themselves had received, and continually experienced. Therefore, sinners who felt the burden of their evil nature, were touched by the power of GOD to receive these glad tidings.
I would like to close with the concluding words of the wisest of all men, Solomon. Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12, verses 12, 13 and 14:
'And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear GOD and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For GOD will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.' Shalom.