This is to be a year of revelation!
Brand new insight, a fresh perspective of that which we thought we already fully knew, a new depth of understanding. All of the things that we need to be successful and to more fully reach our God-created potential.
Just one revelation from God can change so much in our lives! A relationship that is falling apart, finances that never seem to make ends meet, healing that seems hopeless; people that you just can’t seem to ever see eye-to-eye with; whatever our need might be, just a single revelation from God can radically transform it!
A few things that we can clearly see from cover to cover of the Bible is that there is nothing too hard for our great God, that He intentionally chooses to cooperatively work in and through people, and that His ways are far, far from our ways.
Marching around silently for six days, then shouting on the seventh day isn’t recommended by the world’s smartest engineers as a method to crush a great wall surrounding a city.
A trumpet and an empty jar aren’t the primary weapons issued by the world’s strongest armies.
Optometrists aren’t trained to rub spit-formed mud into their patients eyes.
A financial consultant would never tell someone behind on their taxes to look in the mouth of a fish for the funds they need.
No caterer would order five loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands of people.
A town with poisoned water killing people would not be told by a scientist to throw a bowl of salt in the spring sourcing it to purify it forever.
I could go on and on, but the entire point here is that all of these things historically, actually happened. Each one resulted in success as a result of a revelation from God. Success was not achieved by worldly knowledge and wisdom, but by obeying a revelation from God that made absolutely no earthly sense.
They were also not a permanent pattern to follow. I’m sure that Peter checked hundreds of fish mouths after pulling that 4 drachma coin for the temple tax out of one, but found not a single one. It had everything to do with obediently doing what God said to do when He said to do it and how He said to do it. Only in that place was success found.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
All of these events were recorded to reveal the limits of our understanding and the limitlessness of God’s knowledge. As He stated it:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
It is only through relationship with Him that we can receive His revelation and only if we humble ourselves that we can excel beyond the limitations of our own thoughts and ways. As far as the humility part is concerned, Paul reminds us that most of us don’t have that far to bow intellectually…
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
So often, we over-complicate things. We exist because God created us; knitting us together in our mother’s womb. Then, we begin to think that we are something and know best who we are and why we exist. We live according to our own flesh.
Prayerfully, we come to our senses at some point and place our lives back into His hands. There, we are put back on track to becoming the person whom we were created to be. There, we realize the reality that all that we are is because of Jesus.
31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Paul was quoting:
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
Paul continues to emphasize the role of our humility in receiving God’s revelation and releasing His power. It wasn’t that Paul wasn’t highly educated and well-spoken, because he was. He chose not to rely on his own skills or abilities, but on God alone. In this way, the people of Corinth would follow his example and place their faith in God alone.
1 Corinthians 2
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived (or mind has imagined)”— (Isaiah 64)
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
Most of us are familiar with this quote and it is often ended here. However, the absolute best part about all of this is found hidden in plain sight within the very next verse!
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
God’s plans for us may be greater than we could think, ask, or imagine, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be ignorant of them! God wants to reveal them to us by His Spirit within us!
I love how these verses are stated in The Message translation:
1 Corinthians 2:6-10a (MSG)
We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
God’s revelation may be contradictory to expert opinion at times, but it is undoubtedly the best advice that we could receive! It goes beyond what is seen and judged by worldly standards on the surface deep into the interior of God’s purposes for us.
The Holy Spirit, God’s own Presence, dwelling within us brings revelation. It’s the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand what is on the Father’s heart and mind for us.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
Through the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ. We have revealed to us His very mind AND He also knows what is on our heart and mind as well. That’s how:
26 … the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Where our words fall short, when we don’t even know what or how to pray, when we are overwhelmed by emotion or desperation, there the Spirit gets to work. The Holy Spirit is the perfect intercessor!
The Spirit knows the thoughts of the Father and our thoughts. The Spirit knows what is laying heavy on our hearts and also knows the plans and purposes of the Father. The Spirit knows our need and the resources of the Kingdom to exceed it.
Why, oh why, do we not pray in the Spirit more often? They are the perfect prayers though prayed without a word. Perhaps that’s why we’re encouraged to:
…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love…
Paul teaches quite a bit to the church in Corinth about praying in the Spirit and praying in tongues. This morning, we’ll look at a just a small portion of it:
1 Corinthians 14:14-19
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.
Yes, we will do these things! However, when we join together, when the context changes, when we are corporately joining together in unified prayer, we all want to be able to Amen each other and we all want to be built up together.
16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
When we pray in the Spirit, we are praying perfect intercessory prayers. When we pray in the Spirit, our faith is being built up. When we pray in the Spirit, we receive revelation from God to such a degree that God’s word says that we have the mind of Christ. One of the most powerful and effective prayers that we could pray is a simple wordless moan or groan of perfect intercession!
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no mind has imagined; those are the things that God has prepared for us and those are the things that are going to be revealed to us by the Spirit!
Next week, we being to dive into prayer, communicating with God and hearing His voice of revelation.