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A GOOD UNDERDOG STORY
December 12, 2016
Over and over again we read stories in the Bible of inadequate people doing mind-blowing things for the glory of God. From the story of Moses, the murderer that was “slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10), being used of God to deliver the Israelite slaves out of the hand of the mighty Egyptians, to the classic example of David the shepherd boy taking down the gargantuan giant of a man, Goliath (1 Samuel 17). From God’s own son Jesus, an unschooled and inexperienced “carpenters son” hailing from a tiny fishing village, (Matthew 13:55) time and time again dumbfounding the high and mighty Pharisees and Sadducees from the best religious schools in Jerusalem to Jesus’ disciples who were called “men of no schooling that turned the world upside down”. (Acts 4:13, Acts 17:6) From the Apostle Paul, a single man with a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) taking on the greatest scholars of ancient Athens to great men like Martin Luther and John Calvin who centuries after biblical times undermined the entire Roman Catholic, man-centered, works-based system of religion and changed the world because of it; it seems that God Himself has always loved orchestrating a good underdog story!
Why has He from the very beginning of the Bible done this time and time and time again? In first Corinthians chapter 1:27-31 the Apostle Paul tells us why. “God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God… As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.” The fact of the matter is that often times God loves to do the very thing and use the very people that we would consider “foolish” in order to get the job done because it proves a very important point.
The wisdom of God or the world’s wisdom?
God takes pleasure in using people that in and of themselves are not fit for the task. People that in and of themselves don’t have a whole lot to offer because according to 1 Corinthians, when He does this, man cannot boast about being the one that made the difference by his own measly efforts. He uses the weak things and the foolish people of this world specifically for the purpose of making His glory known! God knows what He is doing! When we look at ourselves and say “I can’t do that because…”, “I can’t go there because…” or “God can’t use me because…” we are undermining the wisdom of God. We are looking at God’s agenda laid out for us in scripture through the hazy glasses of the world’s wisdom. On the other hand, when we step out in faith in the midst of our fears and inadequacies we are taking God at His word that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). That He really does know what He is doing in asking us to be His messengers to the last unreached people groups.
Rest assured that there will always be those on the sidelines, Christian or not, that point and stare and call us fools for what we are doing, but that is always the way it has been even since the days of Moses the “slow of speech” and David “the shepherd boy”! And this is the way it always will be until God Himself finally does away with the wisdom of this world altogether.
“We could see them still clenching their bows and arrows and holding them close. “What are they talking about? Why aren’t they putting down their bows and arrows? What will they do next?” I wondered out loud as I looked over at Jennie sitting in the boat right behind me. At that range we couldn’t have gotten away from them in time to not be shot even if we had wanted too. They were probably only thirty feet or so away… I can only imagine what must have been going through the minds of the Burate people on the other side of the river as they watched all of this take place from a safe distance. They must have thought we were crazy for getting anywhere close to such people. But then again, there were many of our friends and relatives back in the United States that felt the same way. We knew many people in our homeland that felt as if risks like these should not be taken and that people such as these are not worth such a price. It seemed to be the same on this side of the world.” – From page 130 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
The wisdom of the world says, “Don’t take the risks! You are insufficient for a job like that! It is not worth it!” The wisdom of our King says, “Take the risks! My grace is sufficient! It will be well worth it!” The real question is who’s wisdom will we choose to live by and be ruled by – God’s wisdom or man’s wisdom? Do you really trust that God truly does know what He is doing in giving someone like you the command to “go”?
“I watched Jennie as she picked up one of the children and held it in her arms, cuddling it on her lap as if it were her own. With mud smudges on her beautiful face and little bits of ash and thatch grass hanging from her long, curly yellow hair, she sat there in the middle of the small crowd of Dao women and children and laughed. In that moment as I watched my young wife and best friend sitting in that little thatched roof house, a sense of pride hit me. In the midst of all the negative comments that had been made about her coming on this survey, in spite of all the odds that were stacked against her, she had made it. She had been waiting for this experience for years. These women of this tribe had perhaps been waiting for this for centuries.” – From page 152 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
- What are some of the inadequacies and weaknesses in your own life that you often look at through the lenses of “the wisdom of this world” and use as excuses to not serve God?
- Does your attitude towards your own inadequacies show that you truly believe that God knows what He is doing and that He has a specific agenda for showing His glory through those inadequacies?
Read Exodus 4:10-15 and ponder these verses and how they relate to your own life.
Used with permission. © 2014, D.S. Phillips
The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood is a thought provoking study on the effects of the Bible and the Cross in an isolated culture in which they had never been previously introduced. Based on the true story found in Prophesies of Pale Skin.
Along with his family, D.S. Phillips lived and worked among the very remote Dao tribe in South East Asia. The Dao tribe is a people group that before they arrived had no written alphabet for their dialect, not a single verse of scripture available to them and no church or religious organisation of any type working among them.
If you would like to purchase the book go to: The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood