The God of losers
That’s who we worship – a God of losers.
We don’t worship the God of winners, success, wealth, fame, might, etc.
We worship a God who is constantly on the side of the losers, the weak, the outcast, the poor, the homeless, the unknown, the lost.
We worship a God who doesn’t believe in might makes right. Nope. Might doesn’t make right – it usually leaves a lot of destruction and death though.
We worship a God who doesn’t believe that the ends justify the means. Nope. But if that’s your focus, there are plenty of idols and false gods that you can sing to.
Scripture paints us a picture of God. We can’t deny that God supported the Israelites and helped them win battles and even slaughter whole peoples. It’s there.
But take a look at the larger context. Isreal isn’t a winner overall. The people of Israel are enslaved for 400 years in Egypt. Then they wander in the desert for 40 more years. They are constantly fighting the people around them. They are unwelcomed and despised. When they finally have their land, they are in unrest pretty often – worried about attack from surrounding tribes and nations and empires.
They remain unified as a nation for a relatively short period of time and then they split apart and are feuding often with their relatives. And then the empires show up. The Assyrians take control of the northern kingdom. Then Babylon comes through and captures the southern kingdom, destroying the Temple and putting the VIPs into exile for 70 years. Then the Persians take over. Then the Greeks. Then the offshoot of the Macedonians. Then they get some freedom for awhile. And then the Romans take over.
There is very little time that they are “free” from occupation.
In the New Testament, we see Jesus. He is homeless – a wandering Rabbi. He is poor. He hangs out with people of questionable reputations. He touches unclean people. He violates the rules. He spends time with the people the winners don’t like. He’s the incarnate God of the losers. Losing so much that he ends up being executed by the mighty and powerful Roman Empire. His followers scatter. He is alone and abandoned on the cross, except for a few powerless women who stand and watch him die.
He is the God of losers, having fallen to a losing position himself – shamed, disgraced, tortured, killed. The world won supposedly.
Only it didn’t. God is a God of the losers. Always has been. Never a God of the winners, the strong, the mighty, the powerful. They have no need of God after all. They have their own gods that serve them. But when you have nothing, then you are open to God because God comes to where you are. Offers you everything. Suffers with you. Loses with you. That’s a God who cares. Only a God who cares would be willing to suffer. Only a God who cares would call on God’s followers to live out a faith that transforms lives and cultures and communities and nations. Only a God who cares would invite God’s followers to end injustices and evil systems instead of ignore them, excuse them, give them permission to continue. A God who doesn’t care has no need for followers to publicly display their faith in action.
We worship a God of losers. In the end, the God of losers wins – not the things the winners care about though. Those things don’t really matter.