God’s People, part 49: Underdog

Read 1 Samuel 17

But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after His own heart. The LORD has already appointed him to be the leader of His people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Harry-Potter-and-Lord-Voldemort-harry-potter-and-lord-voldemort-7716478-932-424Part 49: Underdog. David, like all human beings, was a complex, multi-faceted, and contradictory character. On the one end he was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14 NLT); however, he was also a flawed man who often allowed his ego and his impulses to drive him. Today, we look at young David, the one whom God saw as being of the same heart. This day, we are looking at David the underdog, the one who was underprivileged and overlooked.

We all love an underdog story. Rocky was one such story that captured the hearts and minds of Americans hoping to live up to the American dream. The story followed an underprivileged, aspiring boxer who hoped to be given a shot to “go the distance” in the boxing ring. It told of how this one man, after being overlooked and told he could not possibly compete, fought his heart out against Apollo Creed (who was this story’s Goliath, if there ever was one). Though he lost the match by decision, he went the distance and, ultimately, was the winner by doing so.

Another story that captures the hearts of countless people, is that of Harry Potter. His parents having been murdered by “he who shall not be named”, Harry grew up in a dysfunctional home and became the recipient of his Uncle, Aunt and Cousin’s judgmental, fear-filled ire. Forced to sleep in a closet, Harry never imagined that one day he would be the one to bring justice to the wizardly giant, Voldemort, and establish balance and order to the world of magic.

It is the fact that David starts as an underdog that makes his story tick. He was chosen by God because of his humility and his humble station in life. He was the youngest of eight brothers, nothing more than a servant to his family, and wasn’t even counted among the sons by his own father. It was this David that God had chosen to become the next king of Israel, a mere shepherd boy who would rise to be the leader of God’s people.

His first major foe was his own family, who opposed him when Samuel was looking to anoint the next king, as well as when he started questioning the Israelite army for cowering to the giant, Goliath. The giant would become David’s next foe and David did not cower before him like the army had. Rather, he called the army out on their cowardice and said, “Who is this pagan Philistine, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26 NLT)? With that David went out to meet, and ultimately killed, the boastful giant.

Do you ever feel like you are the underdog? Do you ever feel like the entire world is standing against you? The story of young David reminds us that our God is on the side of the underdog. Our God does not leave the underprivileged and overlooked alone, but chooses them to stand before and conquer giants.

Remember that when you are the underdog, God’s got your back if you are doing what it is that God has called you to do. On the other hand, if you are opposing the underdog because of your pride and selfishness, remember that you are ultimately opposing God, which is always a losing battle. For who can stand against God? Therefore, place your trust in the one who brings honor to the humble, and humility to the proud.

“The voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid.’ The voice of truth says, ‘This is for my glory.’ Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.” – Mark Hall

Lord, help me to learn to listen to the voice of truth. Whether I be the underdog, or in the way of the underdog, let truth win out in my heart so that my faith can grow. Amen.

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