The folly of the rod

Reason balks at paradox.  It only believes what it can see.  But it won’t venture out on thin ice.  And it certainly won’t rush forward where certain disappointment and destruction await.  Reason calls that folly.  Madness even.

Faith, on the other hand, revels in paradox.   Where reason fears to tread, faith just laughs and takes the plunge.  But true faith – biblical faith, that is  – is anything but irrational.  It may seem that faith’s ‘blind leap’ is the proof of insanity.  But faith has a little secret that reason doesn’t have.  The secret is the certain conviction of an unseen, yet no less true reality.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [or conviction] of things unseen.”   Both reason and faith work the equation, both do the math.  But both get radically different results, precisely because faith has a secret.

Faith beholds the unseen God.  It hears His voice, inaudible to the natural man.   Faith perceives that He is Reason itself.  He is the One who sits in heaven and laughs at the folly of man’s wisdom and belittles his intellect by intentionally acting and speaking in paradox.  And to faith, that is just perfect.

A beautiful picture of this is Moses’ rod.  “And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs” (Exodus 4:17).  God chooses a dead, lifeless stick.  Not a golden scepter, mind you.  Nor even a magician’s wand.  But just a plain, ordinary stick!  Pharaoh would laugh.  And he did.  But with that rod, in the hand of Moses’ simple faith, God did His wonders just as He said.  With that rod, He turned the Nile to blood, parted the Red Sea, and then closed its waters as the lid of a mighty crypt.  It sure wasn’t reason that laughed last that day.

When the Messiah came, He was a “root of out of a dry ground.”  He had “no form nor comeliness.”  When men saw Him, “there was no beauty that [they] should behold him.”  Reason was offended at the folly of such a rod.  But faith got the secret.  He was the very Branch of God.  And through Him, God would do wonders.  Just as He said.

Author: westportexperiment

I am a minister serving Presbyterian Reformed Church of Rhode Island, with strong interest in the history, theory, and contemporary application of parochial church extension.

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