1 Corinthians 1:19


23 March 2014

For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”1 Corinthians 1:19

As Paul does often in his epistles, he now refers to the Scriptures which testified to the work of Christ, the wisdom of God, and the instruction for proper conduct of the redeemed. “For it is written” implies that God’s words have been recorded and are absolutely authoritative. In his quoting of the Scriptures, he turns to Isaiah 29:14 and freely cites it, showing the overall intent without an exact quote.

1) “I will destroy” shows God’s sovereignty over the matter to be addressed. It also shows His power to accomplish it as well. No power can stand against the tide of God’s judgment. In the case of this verse from Isaiah, it is God’s decision to abolish what is otherwise worthless, which is…

2) “The wisdom of the wise.” Isaiah’s words were directed to “Ariel,” the city of Jerusalem. The people in the city had moved to religion without relationship; to knowledge without wisdom; and to a life of ease without gratitude to the One who provided it. They felt secure; they were “fat, dumb, and happy.” Because of this easy life, they felt that nothing could assail them. They boasted that God must be on their side because of the easy life, even though they wanted nothing to do with God. As a side note, this sounds a lot like the nation of America today. This type of behavior in Jerusalem led to God’s decision to bring the enemy against them and destroy them –

“I will encamp against you all around,
I will lay siege against you with a mound,
And I will raise siegeworks against you.
You shall be brought down,
You shall speak out of the ground;
Your speech shall be low, out of the dust;
Your voice shall be like a medium’s, out of the ground;
And your speech shall whisper out of the dust.” Isaiah 29:3, 4

The wise would perish in their “wisdom.” The same can be expected for those today who reject God’s offer of the cross (refer again to the previous verse of 1 Corinthians for context).

3) “And bring to nothing” means that He will so eradicate what He judges that there will be nothing left of it to remember; it will be completely swept away.

4) “The understanding of the prudent.” It doesn’t matter what the issue is – moral, philosophical, religious, governmental, etc. No matter what the “wise” or “prudent” man conceives, if it is against God’s divinely established order, and if it is contrary to the message of the cross of Christ, it will be shown deficient. Such things will be utterly swept away by God.

Life application: What God looks for in His creatures is gratitude, respect for His holiness, a belief that what He has created is good and proper, etc. To shun His word and to shake our fist in His face, particularly against His work in Jesus Christ, can only lead to judgment.

Lord God, I know in my heart that You have complete control over the world. I don’t need to fear when the weather changes, because You are the One who directs it. If we have a cold winter, it is because You so ordained it. If we have a hurricane, that was because You determined it to be so. You, O God, are sovereign over all things. Our future is in Your capable hands. Watch over us according to Your wisdom. Amen.

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