Links Daily Devotional

Our Unlikely Lord

Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3, NIV)

If Steven Fox is not the most unlikely U.S. Amateur champion ever, he is certainly one of the top candidates.

Playing out of unheralded University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Fox is said to be his team’s leader. Yet he calls himself “goofy.” The fact that the 6-foot-3-inch, 155-pound rail took off his shirt and flexed his “muscles” among the bodybuilders at Venice Beach this spring during the NCAA Championship tells tale.

Competing in his first U.S Amateur, Fox squeezed into the match play via a long playoff, earning the 63rd of 64 match play seeds. He trailed in four of his six matches. His wins included a victory over the world’s top-ranked amateur, Chris Williams—ironically, one of the matches where Fox never trailed.

In the final against Michael Weaver, Fox was down two with two to play, fighting his anything-but-classic swing along the way. Still, he holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 35th hole, hit a tremendous approach from a troublesome lie on the 36th, then made a match-winning birdie putt on the 37th from straight down a ridge.

All hail the unlikely!

God himself is a great fan of the unlikely. Indeed, his Son is his finest unlikely work.

When Nathanael was first told of this man Jesus traveling and teaching throughout the Galilee region, he remarked with prejudice: “Nazareth! Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Nathanael was soon convinced of Jesus’ authentic, unmatched excellence. The Pharisees never did come around. They attacked his lineage, his education, his miracles. In the end, they just wanted to be rid of him. Their disdain was actually a fulfillment of prophecy: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). No wonder, as we read immediately following in Isaiah’s prophecy, “he was despised and rejected by men.”

God’s plan for the unlikely continues. Paul told the Corinthians that God uses the foolish things of the world “to shame the wise,” and those things that are weak “to shame the strong.” God’s best instruments are still the unlikely ones—not power brokers, not supermodels, not populists, not maestros. He really does favor the humble, just as Jesus was.

Jeff Hopper

August 21, 2012

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