1 Corinthians 2: 7 – 11
we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him’?
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.
What’s the wisest thing anyone has said to you over the last few months? I’ve just spent 10 minutes trying to think of anything wise that anyone has said to me, or indeed anything wise that I’ve said recently and come up with a complete blank! I can think of lots of foolish things; both by me and other people, none of which I am going to mention now, but wise things are rather different. That might be because wise statements by human beings are normally snap responses to individual circumstances or it might be because we are so addicted to transient human folly that we cannot regularly focus on anything more permanent.
But God’s wisdom? What’s that then? Well it does seem to be permanent rather than changing as it was ‘decreed before the ages’. Paul, the Christian Jew, who wrote these words to the young Church at Corinth, was steeped in the Jewish scriptures, the big story of the bible. He grew up implicitly trusting in God who had created everything and was deeply in love with all that he had made. He grew up understanding that human beings had chosen their own way of rebellion, seeking a comfortable life rather than a meaningful one. Eating the apple of choosing to put themselves first,as it were. He grew up well versed in the knowledge that God had promised over and over again in the Old testament that he would never desert the Jews and that one day he would send a Messiah to save the Jews. I put it to you that this is what he means by ‘God’s wisdom, secret and hidden’ The unchanging big story of the bible.
What he discovered on that road to Damascus was that it was not just the Jews that God was saving through Jesus, but all humanity, and that most people had not recognised or accepted Jesus as Messiah when he came. From then on, he measured everything by this wisdom of God, and it not only changed his life but motivated him to do amazing things in the name of Jesus as well.
If today we follow Paul’s example and measure everything by this ‘God’s wisdom secret and hidden’ then it gives us a steer on how to act on everything from how much non-recyclable plastic we use to how to mange through the rigours of a depressing February lockdown. And if we take it to heart, and can think of it as wisdom in a few months time then it will not only have changed the world a little bit, but also be ‘for our glory’. You’ll know if I have managed to remember it, because if I have, I’ll ask you the same question as I asked at the beginning of this screed again shortly after Easter and together we might come up with a different answer!
God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with all the saints to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I hope we haven’t chosen this hymn before. Listen to ‘My song is love unknown’ and think about God’s secret wisdom.
My Song Is Love Unknown with Lyrics – Kings College, Cambridge – YouTube
Next time we’ll look at a few more verses from the same extract from Corinthians.