Once there was a tyrant who declared himself the enemy of God and God’s people. He dared any single individual to come up against him.
But of course, no one did. There are some enemies too big and powerful to fight against, for you know you will lose. In this case, it wasn’t just physical strength, but politics and power. Statistically, you had more chance of winning the lottery than defeating him. And the lottery hadn’t even been invented yet.
Except for the foolishness of youth, the tyrant would have won. But there was one young person who stood up against the undefeatable enemy – and God helped David kill Goliath.
Last year, a lone teenager decided to sit outside parliament every Friday instead of going to school. Greta Thunberg figured there was no point in her going to school when the planet would be destroyed by the climate emergency. This year, millions of people across the world joined her in protest, inspired by her. It’s too soon to say, but it may be that this additional pressure influences governments to sacrifice time and money to protect our world – and the vulnerable and poor people within it who are most at danger from the earth overheating.
The foolishness of youth can sometimes be just that. But sometimes it also sounds like the foolishness of God, which is wiser than human wisdom.
It’s always tricky to define what or who the enemies of God are in our time, and often religious wars are started by arrogance, rather than the will of God. So I want to be careful in how we interpret that.
But where we see challenges to the will and heart of God – where children are being locked up in cages and separated from their families, where the stranger isn’t welcomed, where those on low incomes, disabled and elderly people are oppressed and degraded, where the earth is exploited instead of treasured – then may we too have the courage of David, the foolishness of the small in challenging the big, and the knowledge that this is how God has always worked good in the world.
“Why should we argue about who or what needs to change first? Why not take the leading role?”
– Greta Thunberg
David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”…
But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1 Sam 17: 32,33,45 NRSV
“For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” -1 Cor 1:25
Over to you:
- In what areas of your life do you need to be reminded of the wisdom of God’s foolishness?