But God hath chosen the foolish things - God has chosen by means of men who are esteemed rude and illiterate to confound the greatest of the Greek philosophers, and overturn their systems; and, by means of men weak, without secular power or authority, to confound the scribes and Pharisees, and in spite of the exertions of the Jewish sanhedrin, to spread the doctrine of Christ crucified all over the land of Judea, and by such instruments as these to convert thousands of souls to the faith of the Gospel, who are ready to lay down their lives for the truth. The Jews have proverbs that express the same sense as these words of the apostle. In Shemoth Rabba, sec. 17, fol. 117, it is said: "There are certain matters which appear little to men, yet by them God points out important precepts. Thus hyssop in the sight of man is worth nothing, but in the sight of God its power is great; sometimes he equals it to the cedar, particularly in the ordinance concerning the lepers, and in the burning of the red heifer. Thus God commanded them in Egypt, Exodus 12:22; : And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, etc. And concerning Solomon it is said, 1 Kings 4:33; : And he discoursed of trees, from the cedar on Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. Whence we may learn that great and small things are equal in the eyes of the Lord, and that even by small things He can work great miracles."
But God hath chosen - The fact of their being in the church at all was the result of his choice. It was owing entirely to his grace.
The foolish things - The things esteemed foolish among people. The expression here refers to those who were destitute of learning, rank, wealth, and power, and who were esteemed as fools, and were despised by the rich and the great.
To confound - To bring to shame; or that he might make them ashamed; that is, humble them by showing them how little he regarded their wisdom; and how little their wisdom contributed to the success of his cause. By thus overlooking them, and bestowing his favors on the humble and the poor; by choosing his people from the ranks which they despised, and bestowing on them the exalted privilege of being called the sons of God, he had poured dishonor on the rich and the great, and overwhelmed them, and their schemes of wisdom, with shame. It is also true, that those who are regarded as fools by the wise men of the world are able often to confound those who boast of their wisdom; and that the arguments of plain people, though unlearned except in the school of Christ; of people of sound common sense under the influence of Christian principles, have a force which the learning and talent of the people of this world cannot gainsay or resist. They have truth on their side; and truth, though dressed in a humble garb, is more mighty than error, though clothed with the brilliancy of imagination, the pomp of declamation, and the cunning of sophistry.
And the weak things - Those esteemed weak by the people of the world.
The mighty - The great; the noble; the learned.
Farel had long desired to plant the Protestant standard in Geneva. If this city could be won, it would be a center for the Reformation in France, in Switzerland, and in Italy. With this object before him, he had continued his labors until many of the surrounding towns and hamlets had been gained. Then with a single companion he entered Geneva. But only two sermons was he permitted to preach. The priests, having vainly endeavored to secure his condemnation by the civil authorities, summoned him before an ecclesiastical council, to which they came with arms concealed under their robes, determined to take his life. Outside the hall, a furious mob, with clubs and swords, was gathered to make sure of his death if he should succeed in escaping the council. The presence of magistrates and an armed force, however, saved him. Early next morning he was conducted, with his companion, across the lake to a place of safety. Thus ended his first effort to evangelize Geneva. GC 232.1
For the next trial a lowlier instrument was chosen—a young man, so humble in appearance that he was coldly treated even by the professed friends of reform. But what could such a one do where Farel had been rejected? How could one of little courage and experience withstand the tempest before which the strongest and bravest had been forced to flee? “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6. “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:27, 25. GC 232.2
Froment began his work as a schoolmaster. The truths which he taught the children at school they repeated at their homes. Soon the parents came to hear the Bible explained, until the schoolroom was filled with attentive listeners. New Testaments and tracts were freely distributed, and they reached many who dared not come openly to listen to the new doctrines. After a time this laborer also was forced to flee; but the truths he taught had taken hold upon the minds of the people. The Reformation had been planted, and it continued to strengthen and extend. The preachers returned, and through their labors the Protestant worship was finally established in Geneva. GC 232.3Read in context »
Brother A, you shrink from running risks. You are not willing to venture when you cannot see the way perfectly clear. Yet someone must do this very work; someone must walk by faith, or no advance moves will be made, and nothing will be accomplished. A fear that you will make mistakes and mismoves, and then be blamed, binds you. You excuse yourself from taking responsibility because you have made some mistakes in the past. But you should move according to your best judgment, trusting the result with God. Someone must do this, and it is a trying position for anyone. One should not bear all this responsibility alone, but with much reflection and earnest prayer, it should be equally shared. 3T 14.1
During my husband's affliction, the Lord tested and proved His people to reveal what was in their hearts; and in so doing He showed to them what was undiscovered in themselves that was not according to the Spirit of God. The trying circumstances under which we were placed called out from our brethren that which otherwise would never have been revealed. The Lord proved to His people that the wisdom of man is foolishness, and that unless they possess firm trust and reliance on God, their plans and calculations will prove a failure. We are to learn from all these things. If errors are committed, they should teach and instruct, but not lead to the shunning of burdens and responsibilities. Where much is at stake, and where matters of vital consequence are to be considered, and important questions settled, God's servants should take individual responsibility. They cannot lay off the burden and yet do the will of God. Some ministers are deficient in the qualifications necessary to build up the churches, and they are not willing to wear in the cause of God. They have not a disposition to give themselves wholly to the work, with their interest undivided, their zeal unabated, their patience and perseverance untiring. With these qualifications in lively exercise, the churches would be kept in order, and my husband's labors would not be so heavy. All ministers do not constantly bear in mind that the labor of all must bear the inspection of the judgment, and that every man will be rewarded as his works have been. 3T 14.2
Brother A, you have a responsibility to bear in regard to the Health Institute. [Later Known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium.] You should ponder, you should reflect. Frequently the time that you occupy in reading is the very best time for you to reflect and to study what must be done to set things in order at the Institute and at the office. My husband takes on these burdens because he sees that the work for these institutions must be done by someone. As others will not lead out, he steps into the gap and supplies the deficiency. 3T 15.1Read in context »
My Dear Brethren and Sisters,
The Lord will work in behalf of all who will walk humbly with Him. He has placed you in a position of trust. Walk carefully before Him. God's hand is on the wheel. He will guide the ship past the rocks into the haven. He will take the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty. 7T 267.1Read in context »
Christ chose the foolish things of the world—those whom the world pronounced unlearned and ignorant—to confound the wise men of the world. The disciples were unlearned in the traditions of the rabbis, but with Christ as their example and teacher, they were gaining an education of the highest order; for they had before them a divine Example. Christ was presenting to them truths of the highest character. TDG 41.5Read in context »