Human ideas consistently run contrary to God’s truth. At the very least, we misquote Him. For instance, the Bible says that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). But those who shake their fingers at the rich say that “money is the root of all evil.” This shifts the blame for evil from the human heart to inert pieces of paper.
We also think better of ourselves than what God’s Word says of us. Solomon, in his quest for wisdom wrote…
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
In our quest for dominance, we say that we control our own destiny and that “the race is to the swift and the battle is to the strong.” In my own thoughts I tend to say that the wise person prospers and those who lack knowledge and intelligence do not do so well. But this is simply not true.
The best are not always the winners. Things happen. Events interfere. As today’s devotional reading says, there are “incalculable powers abroad, balancing, adjusting, compensating, so that turn where one would in human affairs, there (are) unexpected and dramatic outcomes.”
Whether a person calls this chance, luck, providence or God, life is not controlled by human value systems. Outcomes are not predictable and I cannot control what happens by my intelligence or effort, nor can anyone else.
At the time of Jesus Christ, consider the emperor, Tiberius. He was a powerful person with no limits to his rule or wealth, no barriers to he wanted or did. He lived on a beautiful island in a lovely climate and should have been happy. But one historian says he was a gloomy man.
Compare that to Jesus. He had with no home where He could lay his head, no wealth, was hated and rejected, mocked and put to death even though He did nothing wrong. Yet He could offer His followers joy and peace “not as the world gives” and that could not be taken from them. Who won that race? Caesar or Jesus?
As I think about the value system of God, I am encouraged. At least now I am. It used to frustrate me to read verses like these:
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. (1 Corinthians 1:27–29)
At one time, I thought I was the exception to this and was thankful to be chosen anyway. Now I realize that my estimation of myself was that “the race is to the swift” instead of God’s estimation that “the race is not to the swift.” Translation: my pride made me foolish and weak in God’s sight, not wise and strong.
However, there is hope. As today’s devotional says, when weakness dominates and life is overwhelming, I can be glad that the battle is not always to the strong. God helps those who are helpless and comes to the aid of the weak. He is “near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
This truth also puts down pride and builds humility, and humility opens the door of my heart so that the King of Glory can come in.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Being weak puts me where I can know and rely on God, where I can discover His wisdom and power. Only a fool would say that their virtue is greater than that. If my own strengths were of any use and made me certain of winning my battles and being on top of things, I would have no room in my life for Jesus. Being slow, weak and unable is not shameful. Instead, it ensures that I will cling tightly to my Almighty Savior.