things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things
of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and
things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh
should glory in his presence" (I Cor. 1:27-29). These are the "things"
which Charles Fox called, "God's five-ranked army of decreasing human weakness."
Concerning this army, many of us can qualify to enter if we are
enough to depend on Him for wisdom;
enough to be empowered with His strength;
enough to have no honor, but God's honor;
enough to be kept in the dust at His feet;
NOTHING enough for God to
This is a heartening portion
for God's people. We are most all among "the poor" who have the gospel
preached to them. Paul says, "Not many wise men after the flesh,
not many mighty, not many noble, are called." God takes the ignoble, the
negligible, and the nonentities, "things too insignificant even for
contempt." Let us then be careful that we despise not our poverty,
our stupidity, our insignificance, or even our homeliness. So far
from being handicaps, they are all in the direct line of God's choice.
Let us, then, seize hold of the opportunity by "yielding our nothingness
to God's concealed omnipotence."
The Bible abounds with God's
mightiest acts arising from the most trifling causes. God's insignificants--lice,
locusts, flies--cause the mighty of Egypt to wail. Think of the little
maid that brings life and healing to Naaman, a leader of the Syrian host.
A lad armed with but a sling and a stone brings salvation to his people.
A cloud no larger than a man's hand causes an abundance of rain to descend.
Jericho's walls were blown down by shouts of faith and rams' horns.
God incarnate comes as a little Babe, therein lodging and concealing the
infinite wisdom and power of God. Five loaves and two fishes feed
a multitude. Gideon's three hundred, armed with trumpets and lamps
and pitchers, overcame 135,000. All of this and much more--that no
flesh should glory in his presence."
Pitchers for the lamps of
Hark, the cry goes forth
Not the beauty of the make,
But ah, the readiness to
Marks the vessels of the
Meet to bear the lighted
Martin Luther was one of
those broken vessels who was "meet to bear the lighted Word." He learned
that the irresistible might of God lurked in the hidden "word of the Cross."
By his fearless proclamation of the truth, he confounded the vainglorious
religion of Rome, and set aflame a current of life, and light, and liberty,
which has worried every Pope until this day. But let us listen to
that insignificant monk as he ex-plains the victory of God: "Next to my
just cause, it was my mean reputation and mean aspect which gave the Pope
his deadly blow; for the Pope thought--'Tis but one poor friar: what can
he do against me?"
In closing this chapter let
me appeal to every minister, missionary, Sunday school teacher and witness
for Christ--and who should not be a witness?--that we sink ourselves afresh
into the unplumbed power of the Cross to take the nonentities, the nothings,
and the nobodies, and yet make them, even in this infidel and unbelieving
age, a mighty host for God.
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