Underdogs of the Old Testament: Abraham

Abraham

Http://www.thefreedictionary.com describes an underdog as, “the competitor least likely to win a fight or contest, and a person in adversity or in a position of inferiority.”  Underdogs are unlikely heroes.  They may have had humble beginnings or grew up in less-than-ideal circumstances.  Their place in society may have been lowly.  They could be considered unpopular.  Underdogs may be reluctant, meaning they lack self-confidence, laugh at their ability or do not trust themselves.  Underdogs are not perfect; as a matter of fact, they may make big mistakes that are irreversible.  Yet despite all of these inadequacies and flaws, they know they have a deeper purpose.  They are driven to move forward and fulfill their calling.

 

Why do underdogs make good heroes?  We see ourselves in them.  They are relatable.  We can all be heroes despite our failings and unworthiness.  Being an underdog calls for perseverance and a determination to fight for something greater than our own being.  Underdogs give us hope.  They remind us that there is a way out of our meagerness and toil. They call us to look outside of ourselves to a greater wholeness.  Circumstances do not have to be ideal to have everything turn out well in the end, and we can all identify with that.

 

One trait of an underdog…reluctance.  Underdogs are not always sure they are the right people for the job.  Abraham and Sarah displayed reluctance.  When God said they would bear a child despite their old age, Sarah laughed.  She laughed that she and Abraham would have the ability to create a child; yet God laughed last.  Isaac was born to them.  For the underdog, it may seem impossible; but for God, everything is possible.

 

God made a covenant with Abraham.  “I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you, “ (Genesis 17:7). Yet Abraham still had moments of reluctance.  When he entered the land of Negeb, he was afraid that the people would kill him because Sarah was so beautiful and they could not have her.  He made Sarah say she was his sister, but of course his lie was found out.  Abraham says, “I was afraid because I thought there would surely be no fear of God in this place, “(Genesis 20:11).  He was always granted safe passage despite his fear.  God provided for him.  God sees past our fears to the other side of them.

 

Another trait of the underdog…serving others.  Abraham, even while being a great leader for his people, reached out and served three strangers that happened to be going by his tent.  He put himself in the underdog role.  He bowed to the strangers, and asked them, “…please do not go past your servant, “ (Genesis 18:3).  Not only did he bring them water and offer a cool place to sit, he had rolls made of fine flour and had special meat prepared.  It was Abraham himself who waited on them.  It is unclear if Abraham ever discovers that it is God’s self who is one of the strangers (or perhaps all three as Trinity?).  Abraham naturally serves others in his leadership role.

 

What can Abraham teach you?

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One response

  1. This helps me make peace with the underdog inside myself – often fearful, more-than-occasionally reluctant. Thanks so much for being a wonderful pastoral thought-provoker.

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