I found the essence of wisdom in the Dao De Jing written by Laozi.
"to see small is wisdom"
"to keep softness is strength"
"to know oneself is wisdom"
"to conquer oneself is strength"
For more about Laozi's wisdom, please read my translation book.
We can reinterpret familiar biblical characters through the eyes of weakness, as we have explored in the case of the historical Jesus. For that purpose, we will briefly look into their personal and communal environment concerning weakness and see how they respond to what they experience, positively or negatively. In this study we limit ourselves to the following characters in the Hebrew Bible (because we dealt with Jesus and Paul): (1) Abraham, (2) Sarah and Hagar, (3) Esau and Jacob, (4) Joseph, (5) Naomi and Ruth, (6) Hannah, (7) Elijah, and (8) Job. With the special reading lens of weakness explored in this book, the familiar stories about these characters will be better or clearer understood in terms of their character or ethics that involves an understanding of weakness and strength.
(1) Abraham is the most important character in the Hebrew Bible since he is the beginning of the covenant made between God and Israel. Indeed, he becomes a model of faith by Paul in his letters (Romans and Galatians). In Genesis 12, Abraham is called out of nowhere and nobody; he is weak and old. His hometown is remote in Ur of Chaldea. His ancestors were meager and involved in idol worship. Abraham cannot be hopeful of his future. He cannot dream of it by himself. He does not have his posterity either. He is an archetype of a miserable person. He left his hometown in Ur and settled in Haran, which is still a hard place to live. All this describes his social human condition that is so weak that he cannot hope for any good thing. All of sudden, as far as we know from Genesis, we have to say God’s call is sudden. Abraham is called perhaps because he is ready for God’s call. But we do not know. The point is that he is called by God and is given a new mission that he has to leave for the unknown place of hope. Abraham listens to God and trusts him as he moves forward with new hope. But in fact, Abraham’s faith is not always consistently strong. At one point, his sense of justice for the people in community is so strong that he argues with God, demanding God’s justice for the people in Sodom and Gomorrah. But at other points, like when God asks for the sacrifice of his son Isaac, Abraham is timid or passive about his attitude toward God. If he were caring father, he had to ask God: “What is the purpose of asking me to do this?” But in Genesis 21 readers are not told anything about Abraham’s justice voice. He even lied to his son and did not tell him about what he was going to do. That is a horrible father. He does not care about his son. Where is his fatherhood? Where is his justice voice as he raised issues in Sodom and Gomorrah? Is his son less than people in Sodom and Gomorrah? He is so weak that he falls in fear. Perhaps this father has now blinded faith that cannot discern the will of God. Even if God asks such a nonsensical thing, he had to engage with God and had to say that it is not good. Blind faith is dangerous in that Isaac would have been sacrificed if not for the sudden call from heaven. Abraham followed the order with blind timid faith without engaging with God. Perhaps from the beginning God did not want Abraham to kill his son and offer him as a sacrifice, but only wanted to test him whether he had a faith of discernment or engagement.
UNQUOTEWhat we can learn from Abraham’s long journey of faith is this: He was weak and strong. He never gained faith once and for all. He was weak and called by God; he was strong enough. Nevertheless, he was so weak in his faith that he moved away from earlier strength. His life is made up of ups and downs, turns and twists. That is why I like Abraham. If he was perfect, I would not be able to imitate him and he would not be a model of faith. The important thing is to live a life of faith in the long run. Abraham’s weakness became his strength when he was called by God. His hope or strength was not maintained well as he moved along with his journey. At the end of his journey, he was given a small lot as a burial place. That is not the end of glory. That is the reality we can follow. A great person of faith, in the end, is buried in small lot of land. But his faith life is remembered in both good and bad ways.