READ: Genesis 40-42, Psalm 14, Matthew 14, Acts 14
There are three spirits that plague humanity. These are the spirits of I know, I can, and I will. Somehow man has swallowed the lie that we know better than God does, we can do things in our own strength, and what we want is most important. We think we understand what needs to be done and that we have the resources to force our will on our reality.
Joseph understood that “interpretations belong to God” (Gen. 40:8) and “it is not in me [to interpret]; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (41:16). The sooner we can come to terms with our complete inability to know or solve or achieve or produce in our own strength, the happier (and safer) we will be. It is the fool who says by self-sustained thinking and action that there is no God (Ps. 14:1). The unflinching testimony of scripture however points out that both you and I are that fool. None does good, all have turned, together they err, none fully relies on the Lord – no not one.
We castigate atheists for their theoretical disavowal of the Creator but functionally live just like them. When we depend on our own wisdom, when we depend on our own strength, when we depend on our own willpower (and all of us repeatedly do), we are the fools who say with our lives, “There is no God!”
It does not help that man loves to worship man. Man would much rather glorify himself than the Lord of hosts. Paul and Barnabas are used by God to give an answer of peace to a cripple. His healing sets the mob delirious and Paul and Barnabas have to tear their clothes and cry out in order to avoid unmerited praise. They later report correctly “all that God has done WITH them” (Acts 14:27). We are the tools — God uses us or not as He wills.
Let us not be the Christian fools who live as if there was no God. Let us with Joseph, Paul, and Barnabas recognize that it is not in us to help or save. What is in us is limited and downright embarrassing; it only leads to death and sorrow. What is in God is beautiful and life-giving. God chooses to act WITH us – God gives the answers of peace.