The “Foolishness” of God

Adoration of the Shepherds

You are the owner of a baseball team and are in the process of trying to put together the strongest team possible with the goal of winning a championship. As you get ready to select the player to play third base, you have a choice of two players. Both are excellent defensive players, but while one is a power hitter capable of putting up big numbers, the other can barely hit his way out of a paper bag. So you choose the latter, right? … I didn’t think so. Obviously, you choose the accomplished hitter. It’s the most logical choice, the wisest choice.

While the actions and choices of man are based on what makes the most sense, what is wisest in the eyes of others, the actions of God appear to be, from a worldly perspective, foolish. In 1 Corinthians 1:25, the apostle Paul states that God’s foolishness is wiser than men and God’s weakness is stronger than men. In verse 27, Paul goes on to say that God has chosen the things that seem foolish to the world to shame the wise, and the things that the world considers weak, to shame the strong. Paul is talking about the death and resurrection of Christ here, but when you look through the pages of the Bible, you can see that this is the way God has worked throughout time.

When God decided to choose someone to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt, someone to go and present His case to Pharaoh, he didn’t choose someone who was a great orator. He chose Moses, a person who, in his own words, was slow of speech and slow of tongue (Exodus 4:10). When Saul had fallen out of grace as king of Israel and God was leading Samuel to His new choice for king, God didn’t choose the strongest, most experienced leader available. He chose David, a young shepherd boy (1 Samuel 16:11-12). When Jesus chose the twelve men into whom He would pour out His wisdom, the men who would become His disciples and spearhead the foundation of the church, He did not choose the most educated men, such as the scribes and the Pharisees. He chose fishermen, tax collectors, and other common, uneducated men.

God’s “foolishness” is even seen in the story of the first Christmas, when God sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind from sin. God did not choose to send His Son in divine form. He chose instead to send Him in the form of a small, vulnerable human child, born not of a queen but of a young virgin girl named Mary. God did not choose to have His Son born in a palace and placed in a luxurious crib. He chose to have Him born in a stable and placed in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. When God sent His angel messengers to tell of the good news of Jesus’ birth, He did not choose to make that announcement to kings and rulers. He chose to make the announcement to a group of lowly shepherds.

As we reflect on the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, we should remember that God’s ways are greater and higher than our ways and His thoughts are greater and higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). God can work in the lives of anyone and everyone. He can use the most unlikely person to do His work here on earth. He can use me, and He can use you, no matter what or who we are in the eyes of the world.


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