Foolishness

Seldom does “foolishness” sound a positive note. In musical terms the foolish song is usually dissonant or disjointed or pointless or pretentious, or simply silly.

But foolishness, like beauty, can be found “in the eye of the beholder.”

It is possible for the finest art or science or invention the hands and minds of men may produce to actually be only foolishness. When compared with the creativity and ingenuity of the Holy Spirit, “foolishness” is a predictable result of the arrogance of ignorant men and women. Foolishness may make millions of dollars, produce names and terms that become common usage and move whole civilizations to foolish pursuits wasting God-given talent and energy in what the poet Solomon called “vanity and vexation of spirit”—like eating the wind—an emptiness of soul and spirit.

And on the other side of the fence, the things of God are foolishness to the world.
This is not a hidden secret; the Bible comes right out and says it is so. So, what can we who are thought to be foolish because of the things we believe and know to be true do about this? Do we argue and with unbelievers to try and convince them of their foolishness?

For sure we must answer their questions; the Bible tells us to do that. But how do you answer someone who does not believe? If they don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, no amount of scriptural evidence will convince them of the truth. What can we do?

Tell the Story!
My mentor, Dr. Robert E. Webber gave the best strategy I have heard for this ministry—Tell the Story! All spiritualties are based on a huge story, a meta-narrative, that tells the story of who made the world and why, why people exist, and what comes after death. (I recommend Bob’s last book, Who Gets to Narrate the World.)

During Lent we tell a tender and tragic part of the story of Redemption—the Passion of the Christ. To the world it is foolish to think of the trials and death of Jesus as anything other than another sad story of a brilliant young man who was so far ahead of his time, the world he challenged had to eliminate him.

Foolish it may be but this was not your everyday brilliant young man—

  • this was God come in the flesh.
  • This was sinless humanity here on the earth for the first time since Adam and Eve.
  • This story is about the greatest of injustices ever seen.

And it was no accident—it was the plan from the beginning.

  • He whom heaven worshiped would abandon the ivory palaces of another world to surface quietly in an obscure stable hewn from a rock in this world.
  • He who knew no sin of His own would drink deep of our many, many sins.
  • He would lay down His life for it was beyond the reach of the law, Jewish or Roman, to take it from Him.
  • Another tomb hewn from a rock could not hold Him for more than three days and He came into and out of death for all who are similarly destined for the grave.

Now He reigns, returned with scars to heaven’s throne, and there in Zion’s holy halls we worship Him forever.

Foolishness?

No. Truth!

Scriptures:
Ecclesiastes 2:17 KJV & AMP
Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
1 Corinthians 1:20-31 ESV
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Prayers:
Lord Jesus, You promised that the truth would set us free. Let me walk in that freedom today for I believe in You and Your amazing story:
The Apostles’ Creed
BCP (Adapted by are SRP)

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
  • I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Song:
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Words: Fanny Crosby Music: John Sweeney

1. Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

2. Fasting alone in the desert, Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted, Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor, Tell of the sorrow He bore.
He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor.
Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

3. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.
Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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