Thursday, July 5, 2012

Least Likely to Succeed

Scripture text: Joshua 1:8—This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

When I was in high school it was tradition that the student counsel would go around and ask for the students to vote on who they thought was the most congenial, most popular, most likely to succeed and the dreaded, least likely to succeed; and then, would make a notation in the yearbook of the people who received the most votes in those categories.  I don’t know if they still do anything like that today, but I can imagine most high schools still practice that tradition.  Now I was pretty much a nobody in school, just an everyday average student.  Wasn’t very popular, not the smartest, not the coolest and as a matter of fact there were probably more students who didn’t know my name than those who did.  I really was pretty much a nobody but at least I wasn’t the kid that was voted least likely to succeed.  What a real loser that kid must have been, or at least I’m sure he/she felt like a total loser when “LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED” appeared underneath their picture in the yearbook.   How totally horrible!

Have you ever felt you were a nobody?  Ever thought you’re not good enough, big enough, smart enough to be successful?  Yeah, we all have at times.  Every single person in the whole world has had failures and problems, oh that is except for God’s people, right?  God’s people especially the biblical heroes are perfect, strong, wise, fearless and never make mistakes, right?  Not so.  As a matter of fact most, if not all, of the people God chose to do his work were pretty much nobodies.
We have...

Abraham and Sarah who were way, way, way past the age of bearing children and probably too decrepit to do anything, right?  Oh but wait aren’t they the ones who birthed an entire race, the jews?  Talk about success.  Out of his loins came the rest of our biblical heroes, including Jesus.

Next we have Moses.  How could he succeed.  Oh yes, he was raised in the Pharoah’s palace, had the finest teacher’s but how could Moses ever lead God’s people out of Egypt or be God’s spokes person, he was a stutterer.  That’s right he stuttered, and not just a little.  He even said...O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou has spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue and that’s why God sent Aaron to go along with him to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, to be his mouthpiece. Besides all that he was a murderer and a fugitive.  How could God possibly use something like that?
What about David, the puny little shepherd boy.  How in the world could God use a mere boy to do his bidding.  What could he possibly do to bring glory to God.  He certainly wasn’t giant killing material or kingly at all. Yet David become the greatest king to ever walk the face of the earth.  He did kill a giant and single-handedly delivered the nation of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.

How about Esther the plain Jane queen.  Just a little orphaned Jewish girl with no parents and no money living in a strange land.  Out of all the girls in the land Esther had the least going for her especially when it came to being chosen as the new queen.  There’s no doubt in my mind that all the other candidates made sure they had fancy hairdos, exquisite gowns made of the finest silk, they adorned themselves with the finest jewels, make-up and sweet perfumes before stepping foot in front of the king, but not Esther.  No, she chose to be plain, simple and shamefaced, and Godly.  Nonetheless the king chose her.  He saw something more beautiful in her than in any other.  It was her simple honesty.  She didn’t put on heirs or try to be something more than what she was.  She was not trying to cover anything up.  She was just Esther and because of her integrity and willingness to be Godly instead of like all the others, God was able to use her to save her entire race from death.  

Then there’s Ruth.  The bible says that an Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord forever.  In another place it says...on that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever.  Well, guess what, Ruth was a Moabite.  So then how come she has an entire book of the bible in her honor?  How could God use her for anything?  After all she wasn’t even a part of his people.  Yet, incredibly enough God did use Ruth because of her dedication to be like the people of God and you know what she was, she was King David’s (Jesus’) great, great, great, grandmother.  Imagine that a lowly Moabite in the lineage of Jesus.

What about Rahab.  She was an harlot.  Talk about the least likely to succeed yet God used her to help his people conquer the nation of Jericho and by doing so she also saved her own family.  And the bible says that she (and her seed) dwelleth in Israel to this day.  She wasn’t even a part of God’s chosen people, but when she allowed herself to be used of God to harbor the spies she made a name for herself and preserved her family to the end of time.

Gideon, from fearful to fearless.  Threshing wheat in the middle of the night so the Midianites would come and steal it away.  He was pretty spineless and when the Lord came and greeted him he called him a mighty man of valour.  There’s no way.  Gideon was a fraidy cat.  When the Lord said he had a job for him to do, the first thing Gideon said was ...oh no not me, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.  He basically told God I can’t do anything for you.  I don’t have anything to offer you.  You might as well find someone else for this mission.  Gideon had such an inferiority complex that he even fleeced God, not only once, but twice to make sure that God had indeed chosen him to save Israel.  Gideon may not have had any faith in himself but after proving God he went on to not only save the people and deliver them out of the hand of the Midianites but he was one of the greatest judge’s Israel ever had.

This list of these “LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED” goes on and on.  We have Peter, James and John, just mere fishermen.  Not educated.  Nothing special about any of them.  Yet God said of Peter on this rock I will build my church.

We have Saul the Persecutor who became Paul, the Apostle.  How could God use a persecutor of the name of Jesus and of the church for anything good?  Yet, we know and it’s recorded that Paul preached the gospel to more people than just about any other apostle and wrote the majority of the new testament.  When God told Ananias to go to Paul and lay his hand on him that he would receive his sight after Paul’s enlightenment on the road to Damascus, Ananias said “Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name”, but God said, “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”.

Then there’s you.  Yeah that’s right, I said it, you.  Now when I look at you guys I see beautiful, helpful, friendly, popular, smart young ladies who I vote to be the most likely to succeed. However others, maybe even yourselves, see you as nobodies and truthfully to the world there is nothing special about either of you at all.  There’s nothing special about me, or anyone else here.  As a matter of fact if you take a look at all of God’s chosen people, you will notice that there aren’t very many who are super special.  There aren’t very many famous ones, or raving beauties, not many millionaires, or heavy weight champions.  We’re all just everyday average people with not much to boast about, and truthfully in today’s society most of us are classified as underdogs and for the most part none of us are very popular.

So why do you suppose God chooses people who are voted “LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED”?  For one reason.  Glory.  

You see God is notorious for using nobodies for his service because when God takes a small, not so special person and uses them in a great way, his glory is shown more brightly.  If God were to use prestigious, or mighty people to do his bidding others could say that it wasn’t God that did the work at all but that it was the person who was able.  However, when God uses someone who couldn’t otherwise possibly do the job others believe and know that God was responsible for the victory.  When God uses nobodies to do his work he get’s all the credit for the success.  That’s glory.

And, when you allow yourself to be used by God, in spite of your failures, faults and imperfections, you go from being the “LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED” to the God’s champion.

You aren’t a loser just because you or others view you as one.  God views you as the APPLE OF HIS EYE.  Take a closer look in your mirror, now what do you see?


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