Throughout the Scriptures God eschews the self-sufficient powerful and exalts the obscure God dependent weakling. Starting with His preference for the younger brother Abel who offered a better sacrifice over proud and brooding older brother Cain, God, throughout redemptive history gives a narrative template where God refuses the proud and gives grace to the humble. God favors the younger and weaker Jacob and determines that through Jacob the promised seed would come, and this over against the natural leader and hunter Esau. In Jacob’s family it is the younger brother, Joseph, who becomes a slave and a imprisoned criminal who God lifts up over His older brothers in order to provide salvation for his people in Egypt. With Moses, God takes a weakling baby from the Bulrushes, saved from Pharaoh’s attempt to destroy God by destroying His people, and raises Moses to be the deliverer of His people out of Egypt. This same Moses apparently has a severe speech impediment so badly that he pleads that God use someone else and yet Moses becomes known as the the greatest of the Prophets. The Scriptures goes from story to story where God takes the things that are not to confound the things that are.
This story continues with the calling of David. Samuel is sent by God to anoint a new King and it isn’t until the shrimp youngest brother is called in from doing time shepherding the sheep that Samuel finds God’s intended. This same David is raised up by God to be a archetype of the Messiah who, trusting in the promises of God and completely unsupported by the strength of man, goes out to meet the enemy and crushes the head of a Giant decked out in serpent scale armor. When we come to Elijah we come upon one lonely and sometimes despairing man arrayed against the established power center of the culture with its fertility cult priest class and through Him God pulls down the pagan social order. God calls the farmer Amos from his Sycamore tree business to be His voice against the high and mighty oaks of Israel.
Isaiah speak of God’s true servant who will be the least expected of those used to advance God’s agenda. The true Servant, Isaiah tells us, will be despised and rejected by men. The true servant of God will be like a sheep led to the slaughter. The true servant will be the stone that that is rejected by the craftsmen. When the true servant comes it is asked of his origins “can anything good come from Nazareth.”
This narrative of God raising up the weak and opposing the mighty who hate Him and His people finds itself getting wove into the moral imagination of Western civilization. What other story is it but the above story that God tells when we find the West telling stories about a little boy who shouts, “The Emperor is Naked”? What other story is it but the above story that God tells when we find the West telling stories of a little crippled boy with a iron brace whose simple kindness overcomes a miser named Scrooge? What other story is it but the above story that God tells when we find the West telling stories of 300 soldiers at Thermopylae slowing up the advance of tens of thousands in defiance of the wisdom of the Oracle of Delphi? What other story is it but the above story that God tells when we find the West telling stories about a handful of Hobbits shaking the foundations of the mighty and the powerful? What other story is it but the above story that God tells when we find the West telling stories about a washed up palooka named Rocky Balboa overcoming all odds? The West’s moral imagination has been shaped by God’s revelation in Scripture.