<The owl commercial launches the message>
Did you know that that commercial is almost 50 years old? It’s memorable. It points to a question, provides a practical experiment and even an answer. However, the wise old owl is only validating his own personal knowledge and experience so is that wisdom?
Some claim google is wisdom personified. I wouldn't claim this. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube videos are all purveyors of knowledge. But knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
Do a Google search for the word ‘wisdom’ and find 447 million posts?
Ask a friend what wisdom is and they may tell you it's the insight you gain just after you do the wrong thing.
Dictionary.com defines wisdom as: the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.
However, by this definition there can be several sources of wisdom and while these aspects of gaining knowledge are good and right, only God provides us wisdom that stands the test of time. Hence the reason Jesus' life, death and resurrection confound people and why God’s Spiritual direction often gets confused with human brilliance.
Today and the next six weeks we are going to unpack four verses of one proverb to help us all come to see the depth of God’s truth. The scripture we will unpack is the one you heard at the beginning of service -Proverbs 30 and we will focus on verses:24-29 but let me give you a little background.
The full name of Proverbs in Hebrew is the Proverbs of Solomon. However, this fact is debated. Some say Solomon wrote under pen names and others believe there are few written by later scribes. Whatever the truth is, today’s scripture is written by Agur. They are more than “wisdom sayings” but an oracle. An oracle is a word from God - a direct revelation versus an observation like the other proverbs. The first verses point to the never ending knowledge, power and everlasting nature of God. As it reaches our verses, the reminders of the Son of man bringing God’s kingdom to humankind in the last days and the future hope when the messiah returns. It focuses on directing the reader’s attention beyond the everyday consequences of one’s action to the future when God holds everyone accountable for their deeds. Let's begin today with a single verse from Proverbs 30:24
“Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:”
The next few weeks we will be unpacking the four things but this week, I want to discuss the idea of small. It’s completely anti-cultural to think of the small as powerful. We love large things. “The bigger the better” is the American saying. But what if society has it wrong? What if God prefers small over large? What if God allows large churches, mega pastors and international ministries to grow and fail to make a point: BIGGER is NOT better.
I’d like to propose the idea that in God’s kingdom - small movements are more impactful AND more biblical. Let me explain.
In the beginning of the movement God chose one man - Abraham because he had a good heart. This is evident in Genesis 12:1-6 when Abraham obeyed God’s call to leave Mesopotamia, and to travel to the land of Canaan with Sarah, his nephew Lot, and their entire possessions.
Hebrews 11:8 states, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
He then worked with him over the course of time to help him become more like Christ. There were failures along the way - selling off his wife a couple of times - and yet God continued to forgive and love him because God knew the outcome of the relationship with Abraham. From this man’s lineage He would come as the savior. God started his inbreaking with a singular relationship. He could have chosen the biggest and the strongest but God chose the man with the best heart.
From this moment, God would continue his favor of this small tribe. In Deuteronomy 7:6-7 comes further proof my proposal, take a listen:
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
7 The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
God chose the Hebrew nation because of its small size the impact would be so much greater. How can you deny God’s power when by all our standards they shouldn’t succeed? The prophet Isaiah tells us 700 years later:
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:4)
God is clearly relaying, the impact the nation of Israel is having on the world is not because of them but Him.
Smaller is better because it offers more opportunity to give God the glory.
Throughout our history this is true. All one has to do is review the hall of fame of faith given to us in Hebrews 11. I love the reminder of some of the great moments in our history.
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
Remember Gideon, He said to an angel of the Lord,
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
And then God even reduced the number of Israelites to 300 so the impact would be even more discussed and recognized. It seems smaller is more impactful when it comes to spiritual movements.
It’s the reason we believe in the idea of Coracles. A small group of fully surrendered Jesus people, or families, who believe by offering close friendship (unconditional love) on a single mission to bear witness to His greatness, can and do provide a glimpse of heaven on earth. Literally, they bring heaven to earth through their actions.
The church grew from 12 to 2.3 billion not because of a web page, social media or Tik-Tok dance. It continues to grow when one person or group authentically shares the true nature of God by walking beside others with like desires, teaching them the ways of Jesus.
I'll say it again - God uses the small and faith filled, over the large and equipped, to do His greatest work.
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