“…for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9)

477

In his first letter to the congregation of God in Corinth, apostle Paul told them among other things: “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; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).

Why did God choose these to shame the strong and the wise? So that they will not walk with pride and take no honor for themselves, but will give all the glory to God! “I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another…” (Isa. 42:8).

For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another(Isa. 48:11).

Those of us who understand this, know that everything we have – wisdom, power, talent, gifts, supplies and more – comes from God. He gives us all these, so that through them we may bring Him honor! He is the center of our lives, we live for Him!!! (Isaiah 43:21). Those who understand this are the humble, the submissive, who know that everything is from Him, everything by Him and everything to Him (Romans 11:36). God can shape such people as to His will, as material in the hand of the Creator, because they are soft, flexible and open to be changed. This way He can prepare them for the role He has chosen for them, for the sake of His kingdom. His choice is different from ours. His thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His ways…(Isaiah 55:8).

The word of God teaches us today, in whom God chose in the past to advance His plan in the world: 

Joseph – was proud of his prophetic dreams and it angered his brothers. He also suffered from his brothers who were jealous of him and hated him because he was loved by his father. God chose him in order to use him for His own purposes. “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more(Gen. 37:4-5).

Moses – was self-worthless because he stuttered. He tried to evade God’s call to him, but God chose him to lead His people. “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). 

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Ex. 4:10).

Gideon – was the youngest in his father’s house. He lived in fear of his enemies and had a doubt about the might of God, but God chose him to be a judge over His people. When the angel of God came to him to strengthen him, he responded with his words in doubt: “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house(Jdg. 6:12-15).

Jephthah – was the son of a prostitute and was rejected by his brothers, but God chose him to judge His people. “Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman” (Jdg. 11:2).

David – was a simple shepherd. Although he was younger then his brothers, God chose him to be king over His people Israel. “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep…” (1 Sam. 16:10-11). He was also hated by his older brother (out of jealousy): “Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle” (1 Sam. 17:28). He blamed David even though he did nothing wrong.

Jeremiah – was young and inexperienced in the work of God, but God chose him for the role of prophet and prepared him for it. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth” (Jer. 1:5-6).

Some of Jesus’ apostles –  were simple fishermen. Jesus chose them because of their simplicity, He did not prefer to choose the people of the Sanhedrin who were wise in worldly wisdom. “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matt. 4:18-22). He knew their heart, He knew they would leave everything and follow Him.

God chose all of these (and others) and prepared them, sometimes for many years, for the tasks He chose for them, so that they will be tools in His hands for His purposes. Although they were young and simple and some were rejected and hated by their families, they humbly surrendered to God and let Him shape them as to His will. This is what God requires of us today, so that we may be tools in His hands for His kingdom. He will “Make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Heb. 13:21).

Paul, the great apostle among the apostles, did not boast of his power, nor of his might, nor of his wisdom, for he knew who gave him all these, he boasted of his weaknesses. “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. ”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10). And more: “Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity” (2 Cor. 11:29-30).

From the words of Paul, we see that he always gave honor to God, because he knew that when he was weak, then the Lord was strong within him. The testimony of his life is exemplary for us today and we have to follow him because he followed Messiah.

God does not despise a person who honestly declares himself weak (Psalm 51:17), because then he is basically saying: I do not trust in my strength and wisdom, I need Your help God! I can not do it myself I need Your intervention in this situation…! God will always answer such a prayer.

Jehoshaphat king of Judah prayed to God in time of trouble, when three nations came up against Judah and said: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” 

(2 Ch. 20:12). Although Jehoshaphat had a huge army, he did not trust in his power and army, but turned to God for help. We know that God answered his prayer.

In our life today, when this pandemic has almost paralyzed our daily lives, our actions and our plans, we must learn from Jehoshaphat and pray: “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!” We are the weak and You are the strong! We have no one to lean on, only You! This is also a prayer that will be answered by Him.                                                                                             

We, true believers, need to understand, that God is the one who allows all these things to happen in the world, and this is just the beginning. (Matt. 24). Everything that is happening today is not a surprise for us, (but it is a surprise for the non-believers). God has already revealed to us in His word what is going to happen in the world, before He will bring His kingdom to the earth! In the midst of those troubles that have come upon the world, we the believers have to rejoice, because our Messiah is coming soon! He already prepared for us new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13) This is our hope, praise God!