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:
- Herb: Take a look at this.
- Craig: What’s this?
- Herb: Twenty-six names. The tough part will be getting it down to twenty before the opening ceremonies.
- Craig: This is the final roster? You’re kidding me, right? This is our first day, Herb. We’ve got a week of this. You’re missing some of the best players.
- Herb: I’m not looking for the best players, Craig. I’m looking for the right ones.
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.
1. THE NATION OF ISRAEL
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.
4. THE TWELVE DISCIPLES
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.