Tuesday, 1 April 2014
…and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,… 1 Corinthians 1:28
Continuing on in the same line of thought as the previous verse, Paul shows that the things God decides upon and uses can be the least of all. And this is for a reason. If He chose the great things of the world, then the world could boast of their greatness before God. But by choosing those things which are weak and foolish, then God is exalted when He uses them to put to shame the mighty and the wise. Such is also true when He chooses “the base things of the world.”
The “base things” are exactly the opposite of those things which are considered noble. Instead of choosing the blue-blooded, He goes to the uneducated and the lowly. Such people know how they are accounted to those in the world around them. But when they find that God has a purpose for them and that He loves them, they become the greatest example of His tender-mercies. Those who were once drug addicts or prostitutes realize the magnitude of the riches of Jesus Christ and so their hearts will be radically changed in turning to Him. The gratitude will never cease throughout the eternal ages.
This is also true with “the things which are despised.” These “God has chosen” according to His wisdom. This is true with His original selection of Israel. We read of it in Deuteronomy 7:7 –
“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.”
Surely, the surrounding nations looked upon them with contempt and thought they could snuff them out in a moment. And the Bible bears this out. Great nations came against Israel and yet Israel prevailed. Gideon and 300 men triumphed over 120,000 Midianites – a number like the sand of the seashore. And how could this have been conceived of? Even Gideon, when given his commission responded to the Lord with incredulity –
“O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15
However, God used him – the least of his father’s house, from the weakest clan of Manasseh – and he was victorious. Such is the case, time and time again in the Bible. And such is the case again in the world today. Little Israel is hemmed in by enemies and even her “friends” are working to tear her apart. And yes, she again will prevail over the nations. You, like Israel and those who are despised and weak, can too prevail when the Lord is at your right hand. Be encouraged by this.
Finally, Paul adds in, that God also uses “the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.” The Pulpit Commentary notes that “The not is the Greek subjective negative; things of which men conceived as not existing – ‘nonentities.'” In other words, that which appears to be absolutely nothing can be used by God as if it is something. John the Baptist spoke this way to those who came to him –
“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” Matthew 3:8, 9
God can raise up children from mere stones and He can raise you up and use you as well. This is the marvelous working of God in redemptive history. From the very dust of the earth, God formed the majestic being known as man – intricately woven together and capable of amazing feats of intelligence and strength. From one man who was old and childless came a group of people who have lasted and endured for 4000 years. And from that line of people, which included some of the worst sort, came the human genealogy of the Messiah of the world.
With God, nothing is impossible. If you are the called of the Lord, He may have chosen something weak, foolish, base, despised, or even considered as “nothing.” But if He has called you, then you are of more value than all of the high-minded, noble, and powerful people who have rejected Him. Think of your position of honor in His eternal home and be satisfied with what the future holds.
Life application: In Christ, you are a glorious jewel within heaven’s treasure box, radiant and precious.
Heavenly Father, though I am little and of no account to the great, noble, and learned of the world, I am Yours because of my faith in Jesus. No greater treasure, no higher achievement, and nothing else of this world can compare to that. I belong to You and have an eternal inheritance. Let the world despise me. Your favor is all I need. Hallelujah and Amen!