The church of God throughout the ages has always stumbled over a desire for success, sophistication, and status. The quest for one or more of these things in the church inevitably produces discontentment in the hearts of professing believers. A vicious cycle often follows, breeding disunity and then disdain. There is, of course, an irony to the quest for success, sophistication, and status. God’s ways are completely unlike our ways. God chooses to use what is weak and unimpressive in the world’s sight in order to confound the wisdom of the world.
We see this principle at work in the account of Gideon and his 300 men. God cut back Gideon’s army so that He would get the glory. We see it even more clearly in the account of Jesus Christ crucified. The Son of God came to die in weakness, foolishness, and failure in the sight of the world. In this way, God received maximum glory in the salvation of His people through His death on the cross.
After Gideon and his reduced army of 300 return from the initial defeat of the Midianites, his brethren from the tribe of Ephraim scolded him for not calling them to come and assist him in battle. Gideon had been obedient to the call of God to cut back his army so that God would get the glory. Now, a division began to brew over who should get the glory with Gideon and his men. After wisely defusing the anger of the Ephraimites by humbly appealing to God’s glory, Gideon went back to the work of destroying the remainder of God’s enemies among the army of the Midianites.
This is a beautiful picture of the wisdom and power of Christ crucified that the apostle Paul mentions in his first letter to the Corinthians. When dealing with a division that was raging in the church over a desire for sophistication and worldly status, Paul reminded the members of that affluent church that God was glorified in the foolishness of the message preached. While many Christians strive after worldly success, sophistication, and status, God levels our pride and unites us together in Christian love by reminding us that “Christ is the wisdom and power of God” (1:24), though He is foolishness and weakness in the sight of the world. May we never lose sight of this precious and all-encompassing truth.
Written by Nick Batzig