You notice in the Bible that the word “apostle” is not there in the Old Testament. We find it only in the New Testament. That means that the ministry of the apostle begins under the New Covenant.
But before we get to that, let me first share something in connection with this.
We humans are wired in such a way that we want to understand things rationally. We want everything that comes our way to be explainable and to be understood by the human mind. That is okay as far as this world is concerned. We wouldn’t be where we are progress-wise without the great rational and deductive minds of this world.
But this human predisposition becomes a problem when we turn to God. Deduction and rationalization are hardly the ways to get to know God. God is Spirit, and the human mind is matter; how can it understand spirit? It is not possible. And man’s inclination to do just that has proved to be his undoing.
This is why especially intelligent people of the world have a problem understanding God. I can assure you that when we get to heaven we will find very few intelligent people up front. Now, I know someone is probably about to burst a neck vein over this statement, but notice I did not say there will not be intelligent people up front. All I said is that they will be very few, at least in proportion to the ‘dumb’ people that you normally find in church.
This is because it is the lowly people that God choses to be the heirs of His Kingdom!
The Apostle Paul tells the carnal-minded, intelligently puffed-up Corinthians: “26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:26-31).
In James 2:5, the Apostle James also echoes Paul’s words: “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
Notice it is God who has chosen them.
Do you know the poor? Living in Africa, I know the poor. Being poor, of course, means, first, that they have nothing. Secondly, they are uneducated, and not very intelligent. Thirdly, they have absolutely no class. It requires a strenuous effort for someone who has class to even notice this group of people. These are people that no one has any need of.
I once knew of a certain rich man in my home town who would keep people – his own employees – standing outside his house the whole day waiting for him to get out and see them. And sometimes he would not come out at all.
Generally, however, worldly people are not so cruel. Most people do all sorts of kindly things for the poor. It is called philanthropy, and much of the time it comes from a true heart of compassion. More so in church we are taught to love others as we love ourselves. But let’s face it, there are very few even amongst the best of us who do not have a red line drawn somewhere deep in our subconsciousnesses where we do not allow certain classes of people to cross over.
But God is the great I AM, and He has no such qualms. He would laugh at our weak attitudes were it not for the fact they sadden Him so much. God is so rich in grace He can do things which we can only dream about. And to prove it, God reaches out and calls the very people that this world has no need of. Now, notice the Bible does not say that God first consults with the rich people of this world on whether He should call the poor, or which poor people He should call. No. Nor does He call up a panel of illustrious university professors and ask them to prepare a list of which uneducated folk He should share His deep mysteries with: (“Oh, y’know, I am not sure whether they can handle it.”)
God is above the high and mighty of this world, and He does not consult them.
God expressly calls and uses the ‘dumb’ and lowly. Some of the Old Testament prophets that we revere today were mere shepherds!
Even when God used educated people, in the spirit they first had to relinquish their stations in life. The great man of law, the Apostle Paul, says that he “suffered the loss of all things”! (Phil. 3:8) All!! When he says all, it means even his intelligence, his doctrines and beliefs, his high office as a Pharisee; and even his very identity. Remember Paul was once known as Saul. He lost even that.
And why does God call and use “the foolish”, “the weak”, “the base” the “despised”, and “things which are not” and not “the wise”, “the… mighty”, or “things that are”?
It is so “that no flesh should glory in his presence”!
The biggest thing that mankind glories in is their mind. But we cannot presume to know God by our minds, however fine they are. We can only know God through our hearts and for that a miracle must happen in our hearts.
As we study the apostolic message, therefore, it is good to pray to God to open our spiritual eyes that we might understand His heart for the church, of whom we are a part.
[Below: In order to interact with God we must have humble hearts]