Powerless Leaders

“He gives power to the weak, and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29.

Underdog stories are my favorite! When someone triumphs under insurmountable circumstances, even if only for a moment, it gets me fired up. We see that over and over again throughout the Bible. God chooses the unlovable, the weak, the powerless, the foolish, and the broken. God chooses people that are counter-cultural to this world. I love that!

If God chooses the rejects, that means there is still hope for me too!

Yesterday, I wrote about how David felt hard pressed by his enemies on every side (read the article here). He had no one to look out and protect him. So he hid himself under the disguise of madness. Under the disguise of a society outcast. Soon after that, he was able to escape from danger and hide out in a cave. But he was not alone. People heard of his leaving, so those rejected, cast out from society, and left in their own misery, followed him. Look what it says in 1 Samuel 22:2:

“Then others began coming – men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented – until David was the captain of about 400 men.”

David never meant to become captain of the reject club, but ultimately he became the leader of those who were left powerless. Even so, David was still in his own danger. King Saul was still in hot pursuit to kill him. Which is why David hid in caves and various hideouts. The army of men who followed him, were not people wanting to help David. They were people who were looking for David to bring them justice from their oppression and to save them.

These weak and powerless people were looking for a hero and a savior. When David still needed saving of his own. He was still in his own stronghold. He had his own problems, his own oppression, his own type of powerlessness. Look at what he wrote during this time:

“I look for someone to come help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.” Psalm 142:4

David is surrounded by an army of people willing to follow him, but there is no one able to really help him. Each one of the men had their own oppression, their own suffering, their own powerlessness to overcome. While many were with David, none of them could save him because they were too stuck in their own problems.

David had nothing left to do, but trust that God would be his strength during his weakness. So what does he do? He prays with a heart that cries out to God in desperation.

“Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.'” Psalm 142: 5-7

David has no home to call his own. No place to rest his head. He is in a prison of sorts, that he is not strong enough to get out of. David recognizes that he needs someone to rescue him, but also knows that there is not a man who can do it for him. So he prays to God believing, hoping and praying that God will be good to him.

Do you ever feel like David? You maybe surrounded by a bunch of people willing to follow you, but you still feel like no one can help save you? Others may look to you for answers and rescuing, but you still need rescuing or saving of your own? Do you ever feel like that? I know I do.

David prayed to God and trusted Him, when there was no one else who could help him. He cried out to God when he felt too powerless to save himself, let alone others. God chose a weak and oppressed man, who still needed rescuing. God chose the ultimate underdog to be the leader of others who were powerless and oppressed. He chose someone still suffering. He chose someone like you and me.

God chooses people while they are still in a prison of their own. God chooses people while they are still weak, oppressed and powerless. God chooses people who have lives that are still in a complete wreck. God chooses the underdog to lead the way, so we will know that it is God who does the rescuing and not man. God is our refuge and strength.

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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