Glory from the Weak
Would a mighty king choose the weakest people of his realm to represent him? Would he send such people out to bring glory to his kingdom? Rather than choose the weakest, would he not choose the strongest, the most valiant and the wisest?
This is what a human king would do, but it is not what God would do. The Sovereign of the universe does not choose those whom the world considers strong, valiant and wise to bring glory to his name. He chooses the weak, those who are looked down upon, those who are considered foolish and unintellectual. These are the ones he prefers to represent him. Why? Because he is glorified in weakness.
Does it not bring greater glory to a king to win a victory with fighting farmers than with expert warriors? Does it not magnify his wisdom to outwit and outmaneuver a professional fighting force and then overcome it with men unskilled in warfare?
As a human king can bring glory to himself by such means, so can God. The descendants of Jacob are a good example of how he has done it. When they were in Egypt 3500 years ago they were not a mighty people, but rather were weak and oppressed, slaves to a militarily strong government. It was upon these insignificant people that God placed his name, and not upon powerful Egypt. Regarding this choice Deuteronomy 7:7 says: “It was not because of your being the most populous of all the peoples that Jehovah showed affection for you so that he chose you, for you were the least of all the peoples.”
He took these people and did the seemingly impossible freed them from slavery to a mighty world power and then made them an independent nation. They could not have done this themselves; that was evident. From a human viewpoint their situation was hopeless, but yet they were delivered. This fact magnified the power of God.
Many years after the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land they came under the oppressive yoke of the Midianites. God had permitted this because of their disobedience, but when they had manifested proper repentance he chose Gideon to lead them in a fight for freedom. But Gideon was not to raise a large army, for God’s hand in a victory would not then be so evident. Jehovah said to Gideon: “The people who are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hand. Perhaps Israel would brag about itself against me, saying, ‘My hand it was that saved me.’”—Judg. 7:2.
Gideon’s fighting force was then cut to 10,000 men. But that was still too many. Finally it was reduced to 300. These were sent out against the Midianite army, who had an overwhelming numerical advantage. From a worldly viewpoint that small band was doomed. Yet they came off victorious. God magnified himself in their weakness. By means of it he brought glory to his name.
As Jehovah did not choose the mighty of the world to be his people in the days of Moses and Gideon, neither did he choose such in the days of Christ. It was to the common people that his long-promised Messiah went. Christ chose his apostles from them and not from the powerful religious leaders and intellectuals of his day. The apostle Paul was an exception, but he lost his respected position in the world when he became a Christian.
The elite of that time looked down upon the common people as inferiors. But it was these “inferiors” that Christ favored. They were humble and not self-exalting. By becoming the representatives of Christ’s Father the apostles and other disciples were privileged to preach and teach. This was a work the pompous religious leaders imagined to be theirs alone. They considered themselves to be the only ones capable and worthy of doing it. Nevertheless, poor fishermen, tax collectors and tentmakers were appointed to do it. They became the proclaimers of God’s truth.
Those common people did great things because God’s spirit was upon them. ‘From a weak state they were made powerful,’ as God’s servants before their day. Any boasting they might do would have had to be in the power of God and not in any natural strength or ability those early Christians had.
As Jehovah did not choose the mighty religious leaders of the first century to represent him, neither has he done so today. His reasons are the same: “For you behold his calling of you, brothers, that not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many noble; but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are, in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God.”—1 Cor. 1:26-29.
The common people whom God has chosen to represent him today are not wise, powerful and noble in a fleshly way, yet they are doing a tremendous work to the honor of Jehovah’s name. Like the first-century Christians, they too are bringing hope to multitudes through the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom. They too are giving testimony before worldly rulers, and they too are courageously enduring frightful persecution.
These modern witnesses of Jehovah boast not in themselves but rather in God. He is the one who has caused their preaching of the Kingdom to extend into the farthest corners of the inhabited earth; he is the one who is causing it to prosper; and he is the one who strengthens them to testify before rulers and to endure severe mistreatment. These people who are weak in the eyes of the world are strong in God. By means of them God brings glory to his name.