Weakness

I’m into philosophy and I would like to be able to use my interest and skill in it for the Kingdom of God.  That is why I’m heading off to grad school and plan on being a professor (hopefully).  However, most days I just don’t feel up to that task.

I look at Christians like William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, or Alvin Plantinga and wonder how I could ever get to their level.  I see Christians my age or even younger who are much smarter, bolder, farther in their education, and better at apologetics and debate than I am, and I feel weak in their presence.  Most of the time I feel too weak to be able to handle defending the faith and being a faithful presence in the university setting.  If someone were to ask me if I’m very confident in my ability to do this, I’d say “Nooooo,” even though that’s exactly what I’m heading towards.

However, I’m reminded that God uses the weak to do great things in order to show his power.  When Gideon went to fight the Midianites with 32,000 men, God said

The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. (Judges 7:2-3)

In the end, God diminished the army to 300 men and they defeated the Midianites.  God used the small and weak to defeat the strong.

Moses, Gideon, and Saul were men that didn’t think highly of themselves.  Moses was unconfident in his ability to do God’s will because he was “slow in speech” (Ex. 4:10), to which the Lord responded

Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak. (v. 11-12)

When God called Gideon to save Israel from their oppressors, Gideon said that his clan is the “weakest in Manasseh” and that he is the “least” in his father’s house (Judges 6:15).  To which God responded “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man,” (v. 16).  When God made Saul king and Saul disobeyed God, God said to him “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel,” (1 Samuel 15:17).

In 1 Samuel 16 Samuel is looking for the next king of Israel that God is anointing, but Samuel does not see any among the sons of Jesse whom God has chosen.  When Samuel asks Jesse if he has other sons, Jesse says “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep,” (v. 11).  Jesse is talking about David.  Apparently David, being the youngest son and the stable boy, wasn’t seen as much of a candidate for royalty.  But God still chose him and did great things through him.

The twelve disciples that Jesus chose were “uneducated, common men” (Acts 4:13) who didn’t have any political power or high status positions.  After Jesus was crucified, they hid behind locked doors “for fear of the Jews,” (John 20:19).  But God was able to turn those scared sheep into fierce lions for the faith.

Finally, Jesus himself was born in a tiny village where he didn’t have any political powers or armies.  Yet by the power of God he still has followers today.  He showed his power in weakness by being given the most painful and humiliating form of execution.  In that weakness he was able to bring about salvation for those who believe.  He gave his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28).

God told Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Cor. 12:9).  So if you feel weak, know that God is strong and He is able to accomplish his plans through you.

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