Devotion 102

BLESSED FOOLISHNESS

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25

In contemplating this topic for this week’s teaching, I thought about my own desires and goals, going into my first teaching appointment. Back then, I was filled with the longing to be a change, to help others change the way they thought about their learning and, hence, the way they thought about themselves.

When I shared these thoughts with more experienced teachers, I was faced with a variety of negative opinions. Most prominent among them were: “Right now you are very naïve; wait awhile, you’ll see the light.”, “After your first year, you’ll be lucky to be able to change your own mind.” and “I give you three months, before you’re thinking like the rest of us.” Had I not hung onto my dream, I just might have ended up like them.

However, during my initial training, I met a very kind man who acknowledged my desire and attempted to nurture it through his very soft and, often ‘foolish’, intervention. It wasn’t until much later that I realized he was a believer in our Most High God and what he exhibited was ‘blessed foolishness’.

Blessed foolishness – what a concept. What does the Holy Word of Yahveh say about ‘Blessed Foolishness’? Through the writing of Rav Sha’ul, we are given a clear idea of what being a ‘Fool for Adonai Yeshua’ looks like. In 1 Corinthians 4:10, we read: For the Messiah’s sake we are fools. But he goes on: but united with the Messiah you are wise! We are weak, but you are strong; you are honored, but we are dishonored. What does he mean by this?

It is important to remember the context of Sha’ul’s letters to the Corinthian believers. Their behaviour was some of the more arrogant and prideful, Sha’ul had seen and he was railing against it. This passage is part of his anger being levied at these people, verging on idolatry. When he mentions, For the Messiah’s sake we are fools, Sha’ul is writing about himself, and those with him, who are sharing the Gospel of Messiah within the world, a world that seems to despise the sacrifice of Adonai Yeshua. Then, Sha’ul writes: but united with the Messiah you are wise. This is a rebuke of the Corinthian believers, in that they have taken their being united under the banner of Adonai Yeshua as a badge of pride and have been using this union as an ‘arrogant club’ against those who do not believe. The ‘wisdom’, Sha’ul charges them with, is actually the worldly foolishness that would convince them to behave in a haughty arrogant manner.

Sha’ul follows this rebuke with, We are weak, but you are strong. Here the Apostle to the Gentiles shares with the Corinthians his understanding of his position within the world. According to the world’s understanding of strength and power, Sha’ul and his comrades are weak, devoid of status, position and wealth. However, he charges the Corinthians with having accumulated the world’s wealth and seeking status and wealth within the Greco-Roman world.

Finally, Sha’ul writes, you are honored, but we are dishonored. Through their desires to receive the honour and respect of the world, the members of the Corinthian assembly have actually sold their souls to the highest bidder – the world of flesh. However, by sticking to their ideals, their principles, found in the teachings of Adonai Yeshua, Rav Sha’ul and his comrades are rejected and dishonoured by the world and have received the world’s punishments for being true to their ‘foolish’ desires.

Beloved, how many of us are willing to be perceived by the world around us as ‘foolish’ and ‘idealistic’, preferring to ignore the desire for wealth, recognition, entitlement and status, rather than staying with our ‘foolish desire’ to be ‘fools for Adonai Yeshua’, the author of our lives.

CONSIDER: Beloved, how many of us have abandoned our desire to be different from the world and have taken the broader path, while, at the same time, proclaiming our love for Adonai Elohim, our Beloved God and Adonai Yeshua?

ACT: I urge us all to read 1 Corinthians 4:10-13 and examine our lives, through Pauls’ lens. Are we any different from the Corinthians? How may we be sure?

PRAY: Abba, my Beloved Father. I pray for your humble spirit to enlighten me; I pray for wisdom and discernment, allowing me to know when I am straying from Your narrow path and entering the broader path of the sinful world. Help me, please to stay true to the ideals I had, when I first realized I was Your child. In Your Beloved Name, I pray.

May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.