4 Examples Showing God Doesn’t Choose Like Man

God doesn't choose as man chooses.
God doesn’t choose as man chooses.

Miracle is one of my favorite movies, depicting the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic ice hockey team winning the gold medal by defeating the Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets in history. The head coach, Herb Brooks, is very familiar with the players through coaching, scouting, and watching film. So he’s able to choose his team very quickly. The assistant coach, Craig Patrick, comes to talk to Herb on the first day of tryouts:

Coach Brooks wasn’t looking for the fastest, strongest, or most experienced. This makes me think of the way God chooses. He isn’t looking for the smartest, the best speakers, the most experienced, or the most religiously trained. He’s looking for the right people. 

The difficulty is what we might think are the right people, God might think are the wrong people. And vice versa. We wouldn’t choose the people God chooses, and He wouldn’t choose the people we choose.


Consider all the nations God could’ve chosen. Did He choose Israel because they were going to be so obedient and submissive? The Old Testament reveals they were largely disobedient and rebellious.

Did He choose them because they were so large and powerful? It’s actually the opposite:

Deuteronomy 7:7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.

Definitely not the way man would choose.


When God chose Gideon to save Israel, did He do so because he was so great and powerful?

Upon learning he was chosen, Gideon said, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house (Judg 6:15).

Again, not the way man would choose.


 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep” (1 Sam 16:11).

David’s own family didn’t choose him. They left him out in the field watching the sheep, because they thought there was so little chance of him being king. That’s how “least” and “weakest” he was, but he was God’s choice.


Jesus was going to build the religion of Christianity, but like I pointed out in the last post, He didn’t choose one rabbi, scribe, Pharisee, Sadducee, or priest. Instead He chose twelve unknown men. Fishermen. A tax collector.

Imagine you’re one of the religious leaders of the day and the Messiah has finally arrived. He’s the most popular individual in history. He chooses His closest associates, and you’re not one of them. Would’ve been very insulting and had to be at least one of the reasons the religious leaders hated Jesus so much.

The Apostle Paul explained the way God chooses like this…

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things (most translations say “lowly”) of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are (1 Cor 1:27-28).

This is the opposite of the way man chooses.

Why would God choose foolish, weak, lowly, and despised?

The answer is in the next verse: “that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor 1:29).

God chooses the way He chooses so He receives the glory. Whether it’s God choosing Israel, Gideon, David, The Twelve, or any of us, God chooses the way He does so it’s obvious it’s all Him. There’s no human explanation.

Can you think of other examples of God choosing differently than man? If so, please leave a comment!

If you’d like to listen to the sermon this is taken from: Luke 6:12-16 The Way the Lord Chooses.

2 thoughts on “4 Examples Showing God Doesn’t Choose Like Man

  1. This has been a subject that has long fascinated me. I preached a message along the same concept from the story of David’s mighty men in 1 Samuel 22.2 “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.(NIV)
    “…all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader.” (The Message) They were hardly the men anyone would have chosen for the leaders of his army and later of the nation, yet David saw the potential in these men God sent him. In my imagination, I can see David, sweet singer of Israel, leading his men in psalms of worship and praise around the army campfires. When you read the stories of some of the feats of these men, you can see that David instilled in them the same faith he had went out against Goliath. These men became more than just mighty warriors. They became men of great faith and spiritual leadership as described in 1 Chronicles 11:10 “This is a list of the leaders over David’s warriors who helped make David’s kingdom strong. … These heroes and all the people of Israel made David king, just as the LORD had promised.” (NCV)

    I was just getting ready to preach a message on Jesus choosing his disciples from Matthew 9:35 – 10:6 in a series on one of our church’s core values, “Saved people serve people.” With your permission, I’d like to use your material to preach to our congregation.

    I’m sorry. I didn’t start out to write my own blog here. One last thing – I came across a illustration from a sermon by a Jeff Strite on sermoncentral.com that I liked:
    ILLUS: In the 3rd-century, a skeptic named Celsus made fun of Origen (a Christian leader of day) “When most teachers go forth to teach, they cry, ’Come to me, you who are clean and worthy,’ and they are followed by the highest caliber of people available. But your silly master cries, ’Come to me, you who are down and beaten by life,’ and so he accumulates around him the rag, tag and bobtail of humanity.”
    And Origen replied: “Yes, they are the rag, tag and bobtail of humanity. But Jesus does not leave them that way. Out of material you would have thrown away as useless, he fashions men, giving them back their self-respect, enabling them to stand on their feet and look God in the eyes. They were cowed, cringing, broken things. But the Son has set them free.”

    1. David,
      I completely see the parallel with 1 Sam 22. David is a great picture or type of Christ in many ways, and one of the most dramatic relates to the men he chose and transformed. What David did with those men in 1 Sam 22 is a wonderful illustration of what Jesus can do with His followers today.

      Yes, you definitely have my permission. Would be a blessing! If you’d like, please listen to my recent sermons on Jesus choosing the 12 in Luke 6.

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