Confounded No More
Jim’s post yesterday got me thinking about the word confound. To review, let’s look at the scripture he used.
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. I Corinthians 1:27 (KJV)
If we take this verse at face value, we might see the word confound and go with the current, English language definition, which means to perplex, amaze, bewilder, or confuse. So, if we just surface-read this, we would believe that God is choosing the foolish and weak to perplex, amaze, bewilder, or confuse the world. That interpretation is partially correct, but there is more to the word confound in this verse.
In the Greek, the word confound actually means to shame down, disgrace, dishonor, or make ashamed. That changes the meaning of the verse significantly. God isn’t just using the foolish and weak so the world will scratch their heads and say, “Well, isn’t that strange.” He is doing it to dishonor their own reliance on themselves. He uses the most unlikely people so that the self-assured and self-confident will be ashamed of their pathetic attempts to get by on their own merits. He is saying that no matter how accomplished you are, no matter how talented or well-connected you may be, your efforts are shameful in comparison to what I can do with someone who yields to me. And when they see how insufficient their own abilities are, then God can draw them to Himself.
Actually, God is using what the world considers foolish and weak to expose pride and provoke the world to jealousy. When the unsaved see that their own skills, talents, abilities and efforts are nothing to be proud of, it points them to Jesus. They see that their own efforts are dirty, and they pale in comparison to the work of the cross.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
Mankind cannot save himself or do anything of real value without the Creator. Thinking otherwise is arrogant and foolish. That is why God chooses to use the people He does- to bring disgrace and shame on the prideful efforts of self-made people, with the intention of bringing them to Himself. And when they come to Him, the shame and disgrace is gone- and they are confounded no more.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (New Living Translation, NLT)