The Psalms have been the prayer book for Jews and Christians for centuries. I use the Psalms daily for prayer.
Today, I prayed Psalm 140 for the people of Ukraine. I have included four verses for brevity’s sake, but I recommend using the entire Psalm to pray for this nation.
Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah
Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall. (Psalm 140.1-4)
The Cross in a World of Words
Thought leaders in mid-first century Corinth were similar to opinion hosts on television and social media today. Their goals were:
— To gather a crowd and the status that comes from adoring fans.
— Truth and genuine wisdom are sacrificed in a quest to entertain the masses.
— Financial gain is a driving motive.
Paul knew the names of the so-called “wisdom” teachers in the forum, but he never mentioned them in his letters.
His appeal was to the church, which was at risk of imitating the people of Corinth instead of Jesus Christ.
— 1 Corinthians 2.1-5 – When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
So that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Lofty Words – Human Wisdom
Paul referenced the wisdom of Corinth with these words:
— Verse 1 – Lofty words of wisdom
— Verse 4 – Plausible words of wisdom
— Verse 5 – Human wisdom
In our day, we associate wisdom with profound thinkers, who are worthy of being seriously studied.
In the Corinth of Paul’s day, wisdom had more to do with the ability to entertain with words than the conveyance of “wise” knowledge.
Paul confronted the “wisdom entertainer” mentality in the Corinthians church and called upon them to model their lives after their Savior, Jesus.
(1) Jesus was not an entertainer, who sought the applause of the crowd and financial gain.
It is important to be discerning about who we permit access to our minds. Every day, I have to fight my inclinations to think like the world’s system.
I don’t need mental input that draws me away from Christ, even if it is stimulating and entertaining. Neither do you.
(2) The Jesus-kind-of-life was Paul’s central message. Jesus lived a life of obedience to the Father.
Jesus said to them, ‘”Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
Jesus lived in an intimate relationship with the Father and only did the Father’s will. His obedience led him to the cross.
Intimacy with God and obedience to Jesus are paramount if we plan to live like him. The surrender of our self-will to God’s will is at the center of our life with God and others.
Paul’s message was contrary to the pride and status-seeking of Corinthian society. It is also in conflict with 2021 popular values.
Those who believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word need to take seriously Paul’s message and evaluate their lives with the Bible as their foundation.
(3) Entertainment, even Christian entertainment, cannot produce God’s power.
Think of all that God has done through his people over the centuries.
— Salvation of billions
— Divine healing and deliverance
— Restored families
— Literacy and education
Here’s the question Paul presented to the church, both then and now.
Why follow “wisdom entertainers,” who are in it for money and status, when you can unite your life with the Savior of the World?
As we see the “wisdom” of the world’s system destroy a country, let’s determine to be different. Let’s live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Rudy Ross and I continue our emphasis of prayer for Ukraine on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. We also discuss this passage. Rudy adds a tremendous amount of insight to the video. Please take a few minutes to listen.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.