Job 14 & 1 Corinthians 2

Job 14

    “Man who is born of a woman
        is few of days and full of trouble.
    He comes out like a flower and withers;
        he flees like a shadow and continues not.
    And do you open your eyes on such a one
        and bring me into judgment with you?
    Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
        There is not one.
    Since his days are determined,
        and the number of his months is with you,
        and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
    look away from him and leave him alone,
        that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.
    “For there is hope for a tree,
        if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
        and that its shoots will not cease.
    Though its root grow old in the earth,
        and its stump die in the soil,
    yet at the scent of water it will bud
        and put out branches like a young plant.
    But a man dies and is laid low;
        man breathes his last, and where is he?
    As waters fail from a lake
        and a river wastes away and dries up,
    so a man lies down and rises not again;
        till the heavens are no more he will not awake
        or be roused out of his sleep.
    Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
        that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
        that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
    If a man dies, shall he live again?
        All the days of my service I would wait,
        till my renewal should come.
    You would call, and I would answer you;
        you would long for the work of your hands.
    For then you would number my steps;
        you would not keep watch over my sin;
    my transgression would be sealed up in a bag,
        and you would cover over my iniquity.
    “But the mountain falls and crumbles away,
        and the rock is removed from its place;
    the waters wear away the stones;
        the torrents wash away the soil of the earth;
        so you destroy the hope of man.
    You prevail forever against him, and he passes;
        you change his countenance, and send him away.
    His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
        they are brought low, and he perceives it not.
    He feels only the pain of his own body,
        and he mourns only for himself.”

(Job 14 ESV)

1 Corinthians 2

    And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

    Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

    “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
        nor the heart of man imagined,
    what God has prepared for those who love him”—
        these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 2 ESV)

1 Corinthians 2: The apostle Paul’s description of his own preaching in Corinth ought to be the benchmark for all preachers and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul says his message was not delivered with an eloquent and entertaining stage presence but rather “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” The power of the gospel does not rest in the messenger’s communication skills but rather in the conviction of the messenger’s heart, mind and soul. 

What are the things that we typically look for in a biblical teacher or preacher? Paul did not proclaim the gospel with catchy phrases or with showy words of wisdom. Paul’s stage presence was one of weakness and fear and much trembling. He didn’t put too much emphasis on trying to construct his message in the most persuasive way possible. Paul simply decided that he would stay devoted and focused on the heart of our faith which is “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”    

The apostle Paul was a well educated man who had excelled in the schools of Judaism which would be the equivalent of our seminaries here today. He didn’t preach with such humility because he lacked the intelligence and skill to preach any other way. He preached with this sort of humility “so that [men’s] faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Do we find ourselves primarily attracted to the messenger and his method of delivery every Sunday? Or do we find ourselves looking beyond the messenger and in awe of the gospel message demonstrated in power with the felt presence of the Holy Spirit? Powerful preaching will lead you into forgetting the preacher and lead you towards fixating yourself upon the One about whom He’s preaching.