The Foolishness of God

Michael Beck

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

God’s ways will never make sense to the natural man. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him …” (1 Cor. 2:14) The natural man doesn’t have the mind of Christ. The way Christ walked is as foolish to him as it was to Peter when he rebuked his Master’s talk of the cross: “… Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” (Matt. 16:22)

The concept of the cross is ludicrous to natural eyes. It is not only senseless, it is offensive. Why let evil triumph? Why let wicked hands succeed? If you have the power to stop them, shouldn’t you? Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels to His rescue. He could have come down from the cross. He could have turned stones into bread. He could have done a whole lot of things that He didn’t. Why? Because He lived within the limits of the Father’s will. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

Those who wear a yoke can’t do whatever they choose to do. Their movements are circumscribed by another. The life of Jesus is a rebuke to those who walk after the flesh; who serve no higher law than their own self-interest. They seek their own will. Their decisions proceed from their passions and fears and ability to act. Of their own selves they move to save their lives in this world. Where is God and His will in this picture? Is there any room for a cross in their life? No. His ways are not their ways. His thoughts are not their thoughts. His wisdom is folly to them.

Paul’s concern for the Corinthian church was their carnality. The mind of Christ was not at work in them. They were still thinking like natural men. He said, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought” (1 Cor. 2:6). The message of the cross is not foolishness, it is genius. Yet, to the world, the flesh, and the devil it does not compute – it is stupidity, it is a stumbling block. Their way of self-defense, and fighting fire with fire, is the smart way to go in a world filled with evil-doers. The gun is mightier than the cross.

There were plenty of zealots in Paul’s day who were arming themselves against the tyranny of Rome. Paul could have thrown in his lot among them. As his Master did, he himself would one day die by wicked Roman hands. But he did not advocate armed rebellion against an ungodly, oppressive government. He told the vanquished flock that walked in the footsteps of their Shepherd that they were the true victors. “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:36,37) He also understood that many in the church who appreciated Christ’s cross, had no appreciation for their own.

There is nothing new under the sun. Men today are the same as they were in ancient times. What was folly then is folly now. They deem themselves to be wiser than God. But then as now – “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.”

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.