An Underdog Story

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“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor 1:27)

The Bible is an underdog story. Over and over in Scripture, God uses the weak, humble, and impotent to accomplish His plan. God seems to love working through hopeless situations and insurmountable odds.

Beginning in Genesis, God does the unexpected. The norm in ancient societies was for the oldest child to receive the greater inheritance, the father’s blessing, and to become the next patriarch of the family. But have you ever noticed how often God chooses to use the younger sibling? Of Adam & Eve’s children, it is Seth, not Cain, through whom God’s people will come. Abraham’s second child, Isaac, is the child of promise, not Ishmael. Israel forever wore the name of Jacob, the younger of Isaac’s twins. And it would be Judah through whom the Messiah would come, not Jacob’s oldest, Reuben.

Have you ever noticed the role that once-barren women play in the genealogy of Christ? The three matriarchs of Genesis—Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel—were all at one time unable to conceive a child. God seemed to take pleasure in carrying on the line of the Messiah through these women. And we cannot ignore the Lord’s own mother, Mary—an unmarried virgin who conceived a child.

David’s story is an underdog story. He was a diminutive shepherd boy from humble means, and yet he defeated Goliath. David must have looked pitiful standing next to his predecessor, Saul, who was handsome, striking, and tall. And the nation of Israel was forever an underdog nation. Even at their height of power, they were only a blip on the radar of the world powers of the day: Assyria; Babylon; Persia; Greece; and Rome.

The ultimate underdog story in Scripture is Christ’s own story. He was born in a barn to parents who could not afford a goat. He grew up in the backwoods of Galilee as a carpenter’s son. Unlike even the foxes and birds, He had nowhere to call home on earth. He constantly associated with the lowly: Samaritans; Gentiles; poor people; the chronically ill; the handicapped; tax collectors; and blue-collar fishermen. The humiliating treatment He received, culminating in the cross, made him a man sorrows and well acquainted with grief. This is the King of kings and Lord of lords. This is God’s Son, sent as Savior to the world.

If man wrote the story, it would probably be much different. Man favors the strong, proud, and powerful. God favors the weak, humble, and lowly. It is as Jesus said: “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 14:11).