So much of Israel’s story is repetition. Should we hear it again? Yes! We need it. Oh, do we need to hear it again. They make the same mistakes again and again. And so do we. Thank You, Father, for being love. That means Your very being, character, and nature is patience. Thank You for Your faithful patience with us as we slowly, slowly learn what You lovingly teach us.
We’re in Numbers 32. The Israelites have made it back, after forty years, to the border of the Promised Land. They made it. They just need to cross over and take it this time. It’s theirs. They’ve been given it. They just need to receive the gift, take hold of it, take it into their possession.
Reuben and Gad do the same thing as Abraham’s nephew Lot. They look at the land they are coming from and decide it is good. They are living by sight and human understanding instead of by faith.
The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. They knew God’s plan. They knew God’s will. They knew God’s choice. They rejected it. They are playing at god again. They think they know best, better than God Himself. How could they think such a thing? Their choice was practical. It was prudent. It was smart thinking. They were already in the land. It was ideal for their purposes that they had in mind, their current occupation of raising livestock. It made sense. It was a smart move in their minds.
Do you see that today? Prudence, worldly wisdom, and logical practicality making decisions for God’s people. You bet. And they are praised for it. The church has followed worldly wisdom in keeping “safe” while ignoring God as their shield and defense. The church has followed worldly wisdom in marketing and growth strategies while ignoring the fact that it’s God who gives the growth. The church has followed worldly wisdom in what’s popular, acceptable, or welcome, saying they are getting more people exposed to the Bible, while ignoring how Jesus said the hard things and just let people walk away when they didn’t want to accept them.
We could apply this way of thinking to almost anything. It’s wise according to the world to get enough sleep; Jesus stayed up all night praying. It’s wise according to the world to not quit your day job; the disciples walked away.
The true wisdom of God looks foolish to the world, but the wisdom of the world looks foolish to God. I’d rather look like a fool to the world.
Count me as a fool for Jesus.