vb (intr) Brit
1. to dither
2. Scot and northern English dialect to talk nonsense; babble
(usually plural) Scot nonsense
[of unknown origin]
“And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be/
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you.”
vb (intr) Brit
1. to dither
2. Scot and northern English dialect to talk nonsense; babble
(usually plural) Scot nonsense
[of unknown origin]
“And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be/
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you.”
Just back a little while ago from giving a talk at Logos School as part of the culmination of their Knights Festival. Today they finish with an enormous feast, plays, and lots of fun. Here are my notes from the talk below.
What is feasting for?
Genesis 1-2 opens with the creation of the world and lots of food. All of the food was “yes,” and only the fruit from one tree was “no.” And we all know what happened. But this establishes a pattern throughout the Bible that repeatedly reveals food and eating and feasting as test.
Consider the Promised Land where great bounty and increase were heaped up for Israel, but in this great blessing there was a great test: how would Israel receive the blessing? Moses knew then and we know now that the people very quickly forgot where all the abundance came from (Dt. 8:7-20).
God is a faithful Father who tests his children with both scarcity and abundance. What is God testing? God is not out to get us, but He does love us and is jealous for our love and fellowship.
So what does God want us to remember when we have tables overflowing and laughter on our lips? He wants us to remember that this world is magic. This food and abundance does not come from pure efficiency, scientific progress, industrial machinery, or even middle class moms and dads who pay for these gifts. If we explain to satisfaction where all the abundance came from, then we fail the test. Of course we see little bits of the puzzle, but most of it should be shocking, strange, miraculous.
Every meal, every feast is like the five loaves and two fish. You can see the fish and the loaves (mom, dad, the grocery store, famers, etc.). But then it turns into a table laden with joy, overflowing with gladness. It turns into tastes which combine magically in our mouths. And smells dance overhead happily with or without us.
We don’t get this wealth, this food, this abundance with our own power and might. It’s the Lord who does this for us and in us and through us.
But faith is a lot like imagination. The movie Hook has a grand scene where the old, stodgy, grown-up Peter Pan is sitting down at a meal with all the lost boys, and they all dig in excitedly, but Peter can’t see or taste or smell any of the food. It looks like a table full of empty plates and empty serving dishes. He has to learn to use his imagination in order to see and smell and taste the food. And he finally sees the food when a food fight erupts. He sees the food when he needs it, when he wants it.
What does it mean that food is magic? It means that if food basically is one of God’s most favorite miracles that we have to live like this is true. God provides for His people. He provides for them in the wilderness, and He provides for them in the Promised Land. This means that feasting should always make us more generous.
Throughout the Old Testament, feasting always includes the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the strangers and foreigners. God commanded three annual feasts for the Israelites, and a weekly Sabbath feast, and the Scriptures go out of their way to remind the Israelites again and again to make sure they invite the poor, the orphans, the widows, the strangers.
But we like to guard good things. We get protective. Of course good stewardship is a Biblical principle. And dumping your piggy bank in the lake is not generosity. But we frequently use “stewardship” as a cover for being stingy. My son, like most boys, is pretty competitive, and loves games and competitions. But I noticed a while ago a pattern: as soon as a good game has been discovered without fail the next thing that will be suggested is a rule. And the rule is meant to protect the game and usually to his advantage. And people never really grow out of that. Special interest groups are basically five year olds trying to get congress to pass rules for their games.
But we do this in all sorts of ways. We have a good thing going with a friend, and we’re a little worried to invite someone else into the group. We have a good thing going at Church, and new faces and new people can bring change. Even schools have to guard against this. We find something that works, that’s really good, and then we start putting fences up, to protect it.
And God asks us, where did that food come from? Where’d that house come from, that city, that school, that fountain, those herds and flocks? Magically out of the ground. And you’re worried about what?
Feasting is a test, but the only way to pass this test is by living this thankfulness everywhere. You can’t go through life grumbling and then come to a feast and suddenly become thankful. If the feast reminds you to be thankful, all well and good, but ordinarily the feast just brings out your heart. If your heart is greedy, then you will be greedy at the feast. If your heart is bitter, then the food will not taste as good. But if you are practicing faith everywhere else, when you get to the table, you’ll see and taste the magic.
Feasting is a test particularly for schools and learning communities. You ought to measure your learning and teaching by your feasting. The food in the garden was the lure for Adam to explore and love the world. Genesis 1 and 2 is basically a treasure map. The test is: do you believe that? Do you believe that world is full of the treasures of God? And I don’t mean vague Sunday School things. You do realize that iPhones are part of treasure that God hid in the world? And Bach sonatas and video games and Shakespeare and lasagna with pepperoni in it. The world is full of wonderful gifts from a wonderful Giver. If we can’t see the food at the table, we won’t be able to see the feast in every class.
Pushing it the other direction, feasting is training for learning. Every class, every period, every year should be seen as a feast. Your teachers are the cooks, and they invite you into their kitchens every day to sample some of the finest tastes they have found in the world. We’re all treasure hunters, and we bring the spoils we have unearthed to class and we share them with you. And this is a good reminder to teachers to serve up the meals well. Learning is feasting. Learning is an act of love, loving creation, loving the world God made, and ultimately loving the God who made it all.
And because God loves us, he invites to the feast, but He’s watching us, testing, making sure we’re still amazed at the magic, making sure we’re giving it away and sharing, proving that we know Him, proving that we know the God who does this magic all around us all the time.
Ignatius writes: “Since God has answered my prayer to see you godly people, I have proceeded to ask for more. I mean, it is as a prisoner for Christ Jesus that I hope to greet you, if indeed it be [God's] will that I should deserve to meet my end. Things are off to a good start. May I have the good fortune to meet my fate without interference!”
CRF Talk: 10 Reasons Why College Students Should Spend Time with the Elderly
1. You don’t have better things to do. College students are selfish and lazy. “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” (Pr. 26:16) Young people are characteristically self-assured, conceited, proud, and the biblical name for this is “sluggard.” Wisdom and greatness are tied together and they come through serving and loving (Mt. 23:11).
2. Because you have lots of energy and time. “The glory of young men is their strength.” (Pr. 20:29) Embracing the glory that God bestows upon “youth” means proving your freedom in sacrificial ways like spending time in ways you don’t *have* to.
3. This is one way to get wisdom. The “simple” – ie. the immature, the young – need to get wisdom. Reading Proverbs is the beginning of wisdom, and it is the words of a father to a son (Pr. 1:1, 1:8, and 8:5). But the glory of old men is their gray hair (ie. their wisdom) (Pr. 20:29). The young should seek wisdom from the old. Spending time with the elderly is the pursuit of wisdom.
4. It teaches us to fear the Lord. “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:32). Taking time to talk to them, sing with them, pray for them, know them, love them, and serve them are all ways of honoring the “face of an old man.” This passage ties honoring the elderly to fearing God. Our honor of the old is a measurement of our fear of God, our determination that the Lord is God.
5. It’s obedience to the fifth commandment. Obviously your own grandparents/great-grandparents is a good place to start. This is an extension of the fifth commandment to honor your father and mother. Likewise, other friends of your father: “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend…” (Pr. 27:10)
6. It teaches us how to be the Church. The elderly are your parents and you are their children. “So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Lk. 18:29-30) While the family is a real institution, it is relativized to the Church, the household of faith, the family of God. Every baptism is the proclamation that the Church is your family. And if true and undefiled religion is caring for orphans and widows in their distress and many of the elderly have been abandoned and are effectively orphans and widows, then we are called to be family to them.
7. It fulfills the promises of God and enacts the Kingdom of God. Spending time with the elderly is a way of fulfilling the promises of God to turn the hearts of the children to the hearts of their fathers (Mal. 4:6). This is a way to proclaim the Kingdom of God in word and deed. Jesus is come, and the generations are being gathered together and reconciled. This includes our own parents and grandparents but must expand to include all that we come in contact with.
8. It reminds you of where you’re going (Eccl. 12:1ff). It teaches humility and sobriety. “Better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart o the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Eccl. 7:2-4). Spending time with the elderly discourages vanity. We can’t be that proud of our bodies and accomplishments when we remember what we’ll look like in 50-60 years. It also teaches us deep thankfulness for the health and strength we enjoy now.
9. It teaches you to hate sin. Growing old is part of the curse of sin, and seeing it in front you is one of the best educations. Hating sin in the deformed body of an old woman in front of you teaches you to hate sin in your heart, in your words, in your thoughts and actions. Hearing about a life that was poorly lived, full of regret, is a severe warning to us to repent of sin now and to live at peace with all men as far as it depends upon us.
10. It teaches us to long for the resurrection and consummation of all things. As postmillennialists and reformed, we might be rightly criticized for not longing for the final return of Christ. Sin and hell, sickness and death should be good motivators for evangelism and mercy ministry. Likewise, if the resurrection and the life to come really are as grand as the Scriptures promise, we should want to hasten them. The sooner the better, and we have to recognize our place in that program.
Peter’s exhortations to submit to authorities and to bless all men is unpacking Peter’s conviction that the Church is the new priesthood, called to be the new “spiritual house” of God (2:4-5). This new house necessarily competes with the old one, but Jesus has promised to “visit” them soon (2:12, Lk. 19:44).
Defending the Sanctuary
The apostle has explained that the Church is the new temple of God by battling sin and doing good works (2:11-12). Peter continues explaining this task by asking who will harm “zealots of good” (3:13). Being zealous for good would seem harmless enough, but Peter also knows that zealots are persecuted as trouble makers. But if they suffer for justice, they are “blessed.” Jesus says this kind of treatment is reason for rejoicing because we know our reward is great in heaven and because we join the ranks of the prophets (Mt. 5:10-12 cf. Js. 1:12). Peter says not to fear “their fear” nor be disturbed (3:14). This is a quotation from Isaiah 8:12, and Peter may be urging Christians not to fear the Romans like the Jews do. The opposite of “their fear” is to consecrate the Lord God in their hearts and to be always ready to give a defense to those who ask about their hope (3:15, cf. Mt. 13:10-13). The command to “sanctify” God is strange since almost never do we sanctify God. Rather it is we who need to be sanctified by Him. How do we sanctify God? In the Isaiah passage Peter has already quoted, Yahweh says that not only should they not be afraid of the “fears” of their enemies, they should also “hallow” Yahweh of Hosts, let Him be their fear (Is. 8:13). Given how the OT usually uses this language for sanctuary, people, and furniture, it’s almost not surprising for Isaiah to continue and say that Yahweh “will be as a sanctuary” (Is. 8:14). However, he will be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to the houses of Israel (Is. 8:14, cf. 1 Pet. 2:8, Is. 29:23). Ezekiel uses similar language: “Then the nations will know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore” (Ez. 37:28). Elsewhere, God promises to vindicate His holiness among the nations (Ez. 38:23, 39:27). When we hallow/fear God, He hallows us in the midst of the nations (e.g. Mt. 6:9). As we are faithful to our calling to be and build the house of God, God defends His house, He promises to be our sanctuary.
A Living Hope
This hope is the “living hope” they received when they were begotten again through the resurrection of Jesus (1:3). Elsewhere Paul says that “hope” is the ultimate result of suffering (Rom. 5:1-5). If we are zealous for good, sanctifying God in our hearts, then we may have a good conscience when we are defamed as evil doers (3:16). And this incongruity will ultimately result in shame and conversion (3:16, cf. 2:12, 15, 3:1). Peter repeats that it is better to suffer for doing good because this is what Jesus did (3:17-18, cf. 2:20-25). But even here Peter reminds his audience that Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust. Peter makes what may seem like a strange digression here, but the context helps. First, the point is the vindication of Jesus who was made alive by the Spirit. His victory was proclaimed specifically to the disobedient spirits in prison (3:19) who witnessed God’s patience while Noah was building the ark (3:20). Why does Peter think this fits with this context? Here is a situation where God’s reputation was on the line and His faithful servants were severely tested. And not only that, this testing takes place in the context of building a house. And Peter knows that numbers can sometimes seem daunting, but God has saved as few as eight souls before when the whole world had gone mad. Finally, water is the clear and obvious sign of vindication. When did it become clear that God was right? That Noah was right? That the ark was the place to be? When it started raining. And Peter says it’s the same for us. The water is the sign that now saves us, that appeals to God as a good conscience (cf. Heb. 10:22). Here, Peter comes full circle by referencing the resurrection of Jesus. We are to strive for a good conscience before God and man, zealous for good, blessing those who persecute us, but our hope is grounded in the resurrection (1:3, 21). The water appeals to God on the basis of the resurrection.
Conclusion & Application
We are called to do good and expect persecution in full assurance of faith. This is just a fact we have to get down in our bones. If we follow Jesus, we must expect to suffer.
The way Peter continues to draw off of these Isaiah texts should impress how analogous he sees the first century Church situation to Israel’s context at the end of the era of the kings. The house of Israel was destroyed, but a new house emerged from the ark of exile because God is faithful. The first century church endured great persecution at the hands of unbelieving Jews, but God vindicated His people in 70 AD when the real zealots were revealed.
All of the judgments of God throughout Scripture and down through history all point to the resurrection of Jesus which is our living hope. This hope is living because Jesus is alive. And every baptism is a reminder to us and to God of His promises of resurrection both now and at the end. He is at the right hand of God and all powers have been made subject to Him, including every power in our lives (3:22). If that’s true, hope must be spilling out of us, and we must be always ready to given an answer to those who ask us about the house we’re building. And our answer is baptism: Look, it’s already started raining.
“When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn.”
HT: Remy Wilkins
“The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers ‘I’ve read it already’ to be a conclusive argument against reading a work.” (C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, 2)
Last week we considered the fact that the Christian community embodies the life of the Trinity through submission. As the Son entrusts Himself to the Father, so we are to entrust ourselves to the Son, and this submission manifests itself in submission to human authorities, just as Jesus did. As we cling to Jesus in this, our submission and suffering is taken up into Christ’s and becomes part of Christ’s reconciliation of all things.
Peter continues with the theme of this submission with an exhortation to wives. While Christ is the central example that we are to follow, Peter implies that submissive slaves and wives are models of faith as well. Notice that this means an efficacy is tied to this submission. As Christ’s example accomplishes the replication of His life in us, so too, submissive wives do so with the aim of “winning” their husbands (3:1). Peter says this is true of disobedient husbands (3:1) just as it was true of “harsh masters” (2:18). Notice that this “submission” ought to be done in fear for both slaves and wives (2:18, 3:2). While there may be a faithful sort of fear of human authorities, Peter’s introduction grounds this fear ultimately in God (1:17, 2:17). How much more so ought this pattern to hold true for generally more faithful husbands/masters? Notice that submissive wives strive to imitate Jesus by their actions and without words (3:1, cf. 2:12, 22-23), and all of this is in order to silence the foolishness of ignorant men (even ignorant husbands) (2:12, 15). These actions cannot be merely outward beauty, but must imitate the Trinity in incarnating the “hidden person,” manifesting that “incorruptible” inheritance we have in Christ (1:4), but there is also something efficacious about suffering for others that mimics Christ (cf. 1:18-19, 23). God the judge, who judges righteously, intervenes for those who act commendably, for those who are “precious” in His sight (3:4). This submissive spirit imitates Sarah and the other holy women who trusted in God and did not fear (3:5-6).
Husbands Who Know
Peter urges husbands to dwell with their wives according to knowledge (3:7). Given that we have an exhortation for husbands to “know” their wives, it is difficult not to think of the first marriage and the role of “knowledge.” God planted the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden, and this tree tested the loyalty of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:9). It is the lie of the dragon that when they eat their eyes will be opened, “knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). After eating, their eyes are opened and they “know” that they are naked (Gen. 3:7), and God recognizes that now they do know good and evil (Gen. 3:22). The very next use of the word “know” occurs when the text describes Adam knowing his wife sexually (Gen. 4:1). Given Adam’s blessing/response to God’s curses, we are to believe that Adam repented (Gen. 3:20-21) and God forgave them (Gen. 3:21). “Knowing” is bound up with loyalty, glory, and God-likeness. And sexual love is no different. Peter says that husbands are to live with their wives like the repentant Adam. Rather than abdicating, they are to honor their wives as “fellow heirs” of the promises of God (1 Pet. 3:7). This kind of love results in answered prayers (3:7, cf. 3:12).
Applications & Conclusions
Peter closes these particular exhortations by calling upon all Christians to be of “one mind,” sharing burdens, loving one another like family (3:8). This all goes back to an imitation of Christ, particularly with our tongues (3:9-10). Full repentance is always a “turning” away from evil and running after what is good (3:11).
Our ability to submit and suffer injustice rests upon knowledge, knowing Jesus and the Judge who vindicated Him. Husbands must know Jesus so that they may know their wives. Wives must prioritize their love and submission with Jesus at the center so that they may submit to their husbands.
Most marital sins are disobedience to the basic gospel. Jesus did not revile when He was reviled (2:23) so neither should we (3:8-9). We are called to bless those who persecute us and run after peace (3:9-11), trusting that God’s ears are open to our prayers and He will judge those who do evil (3:12).
“One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (28:9)
This continues a section on the Torah (cf. 28:4, 7). The Torah was to be heard and obeyed (Dt. 6), and failure to “listen” was failure to obey. The task of faithful Israelites was to “hear” so that they might have the words of the law in their hearts (Dt. 6:6). This “hearing” was to take place through putting the law all over their lives and talking about them with their children constantly. Hearing means loving God with all that we are, and that love flows out and fills the lives of those hearers.
Turning away from hearing is a sin of omission, a lapse of obedience which is disobedience, but the proverb says that when this occurs it affects everything, even acts of piety. An abomination is something detested by God, and perhaps a parallel we might imagine in human life are the articles of a loved one who has betrayed us. All memories and reminders of someone who has committed treachery become reminders of the treachery. Likewise, God says that those who do not listen to Him, those who neglect His Word, and fail to love it with all that they are commit treason and adultery, and when we speak to Him, it only reminds Him of the fact. An adulterous husband who refuses to repent of His sin cannot protest that at least he called home every once in a while.
Notice too that the one who refuses to listen gets the same treatment. God promises to turn His ear from hearing that one who has turned away from hearing. At some point, justice becomes an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth affair.
The structure of the proverb:
Also his prayers
The structure emphasizes these basic parallels. He who turns away his ear will become detestable to God. God’s ear will turn away from the one who has turned away from Him, and He will not hear his prayers. The center is the necessity of hearing the Torah.
Jesus and the prophets emphasize the fact that God’s people frequently have ears but do not hear. Isaiah’s ministry is explicitly for the purpose of lulling God’s people into presumption and Jesus says that His parables have the same effect. Those who have hard hearts will compliment themselves on hearing and understanding because they have heard with their ears, but God says they have not really heard or understood and therefore they cannot turn and be forgiven. This seems to be how the prayers of these traitors are abominations. God lulls them into a deeper, self-righteous sleep so that they cannot turn and be forgiven.
1 Pet. 3:7 exhorts husbands to dwell with their wives in understanding, honoring them, so that their prayers are not hindered. This seems to be a parallel idea to this proverb. Listening to Torah means knowing and honoring your wife, but refusal to do so will result in hindered prayers.
Refusing to hear is a kind of arrogance and pride, but humility listens and obeys.
“Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, He himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.” (28:10)
This proverb promises what others also predict, namely, that those who do evil will eat the fruit of their labors (Pr. 26:27, Eccl. 10:8). They will fall into the pit they have dug for others. But this proverb specifically targets leaders, and even more specifically, leaders who lead the “upright” astray. Thus, this proverb includes a promise of hope for blameless followers. Those who follow the “evil way” ignorantly will be rescued by God and inherit good.
Peter Leithart notes: “A form of the verb “lead astray” (shagah) is used in Leviticus 4:13 to describe sins of wandering or ignorance. This is not a high-handed sin, but a sin of deception, ignorance, confusion. The proverb gives us a specific scenario involving such a sin: A sin of ignorance or wandering may be one that is “caused” by another, that is, one in which we are encouraged by someone we think trustworthy to sin. Sins of ignorance are removed in sacrifice. They are not counted as defiant, high-handed sins. Scripture, in short, recognizes degrees and varieties of sin. Sins are always sins, but sometimes sinners are victims as well as perpetrators.”
This proverb acts as a great warning to leaders. Obviously those who knowingly lead their people in an evil way should be warned, but even those unintentionally lead in an evil way. This places great responsibility on leaders in general. While the promise to the “blameless” seems to run most directly parallel to the “upright” who are led astray, we might also recognize the possibility that a leader might also be blameless and also rescued from the pit.
The word for “blameless” is the same for “perfect” or “spotless.” Noah was blameless (Gen. 6:9), as was Jacob (Gen. 25:27) and Job (Job 1:1). The same word used in this proverb describes the quality required of sacrifices (e.g. Ex. 12:5, Lev. 1:3ff). This sacrificial theme fits with the proverb’s point: though the “blameless” may endure persecution or hardship, they may trust the Lord to use these trials providentially, to draw them near to Him – the ultimate “good inheritance.” The sacrificial knife may not be pleasant, but the promise is that we will ascend into the Lord’s presence.
Of course the ultimate “human sacrifice” is Jesus, the truly blameless and perfect man. Peter Leithart points out that Jesus is the “blameless” one who committed no sins either willfully or ignorantly, but he was still cast into the pit. Our sins and transgressions were placed upon Him, and He suffered for our evil ways, but God raised Jesus out of the pit and vindicated Him. Jesus was granted a good inheritance, and it is through Christ that we are also offered the status of “blameless” and the same good inheritance through the Spirit. If Jesus was vindicated, those who cling to Him in faith will also be vindicated and raised from every pit.
“The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding searches him out.” (28:11)
This economic proverb addresses the connection between riches and wisdom. Here riches can act as confusion and blindness. Riches are a great temptation for self-justification. Earlier in Proverbs the wise father instructed his son to trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding. This included a commitment to not be wise in his own eyes but to fear the Lord. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom and understanding. Riches always tempt those who have them to believe in some measure of self sufficiency. “And you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.” (Dt. 8:17)
The opposite of this arrogance is fearing Yahweh and trusting Him. This is doubly hard since Yahweh is perfect and just, and we are not. Allowing God’s word to judge us and be our eyes (Js. 1:22-25) means allowing God to mess with us according to His wisdom. It doesn’t seem accidental that James goes directly from a discussion of what the Word of God should be for us to the description of pure religion, caring for orphans and widows and then directly into a discussion of poor and rich in Church. Riches easily distort our understanding.
On the other hand, the poor man may have understanding that is very great. He may have understanding that is able to truly search matters out. Here the Hebrew is ambiguous enough to admit several possible objects. A direct contrast to the first half of the proverb, suggests that the poor man is able to search himself, unlike his rich counterpart. The poor man may not know much, but at least he knows himself honestly. But since the rich man is only wise in his own eyes (and therefore blind), it may also mean that the poor man may be able to understand the rich man better than the rich man can understand himself, underlining the blindness. The poor man may be a better judge of the rich man than the rich man is of himself. A third possible meaning is that a poor man who has understanding is merely one who searches matters out. He is not satisfied with his own opinion. He knows enough to know that his own eyes are not enough. He recognizes that in the presence of many counselors there is wisdom. A poor man knows that he is dependent and not self sufficient, and this is the beginning of wisdom too.
Peter Leithart points out that this pattern fits with the incarnation since Jesus became poor for us in order that He might be the wisdom of God (2 Cor. 8:9). Like the poor man who understands and searches out even the rich man who is wise in his own eyes, Jesus understands us and our self-sufficiency. And His knowing and understanding of us is effectual for our salvation.