Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called,both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength
. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25Paul is answering the critics of his message. When Paul preached about the Savior of the worlddying on a cross his Greek audience ridiculed him. They mocked him. Greek gods were strongand powerful. Zeus was associated with lightening, a bull, and an eagle.They said, Do you hear what you are saying Paul? Do you know how foolish you sound…talkingabout a crucified Savior? They accused Paul of preaching a message that was foolish and weak.Embarrassing. And Paul’s answer was,
That may be true, compared to your gods our message may be weak and foolish. But even in weakness our message is still better than yours.
So, Paul wasn’t really conceding that God was weak. He was just using this phrase, “weaknessof God”, to prove his point.But still, having said that, we’ve got to admit …our message does sound weak. I mean, Goddoesn’t have a very good Public Relations department. He enters the world born in a stable andleaves it on a cross. His entrance and exit were at the lowest levels of the social strata. That’swhat I mean by the weakness of God. For some reason, there are times when God delights inrevealing himself in weakness. He shuns a display of power and prefers to manifest himself inweakness, or maybe a better word, humility.We can ignore this side of God, or we can embrace it and learn from it. So that’s what I want todo this month. I think it will make a great study during this season of Advent. Now, I asked Betty Verdon to paint a picture for us over the next few weeks. I specifically askedher to start small…with just a few brush strokes to begin because that’s how God entered theworld…with just a slight revelation of who he was.I want to share a story with you today from the Old Testament. A lot of Old Testament storiestalk about the power of God: creating the heavens and the earth, parting the Red Sea, or destroying the wall around Jericho. But that’s only part of who God is. There are many times inscripture where God reveals himself in very understated ways. You might say…in weakness.The prophet Elijah learned this. Turn to 1 Kings 19.We like to think of God’s prophets as overcomers, full of faith and power. But not always. Elijahwas so discouraged he wanted to die. False prophets were lying to the people about God. He feltlike he was the only true believer left in the land. And Queen Jezebel of Israel had pledged to killhim within 24 hours. So it says…
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life… He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am nobetter than my ancestors."
1 Kings 19:3,4