The benefit of weakness

  • Sumo

Weakness is supposed to be bad, but I reckon it’s a case of misunderstanding and discrimination. We should promote weakness for more people.

In the Bible book of Deuteronomy, God’s people are on the edge of their promised land. The Lord saved them, took them through the journey, and is getting them ready to live for him in the good place he’s provided. And there’s a powerful reminder of their weakness:

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (esv)

God did all manner of good for his people. Easy logic says, ‘Well, then – I must be pretty good!’

Not true. They were unimpressive, without distinction. Which tells us the first benefit of weakness: humility.

Humility. A right regard for one’s own weakness and inability. It’s not the same as humiliation, which has strong tones of mockery and ridicule. Humility is more straightforward, an admission of reality.

The wonderful news is that humility is freedom. Freedom to admit need. Freedom to stop pretending. Freedom to ask for help. Freedom to thank others. Freedom to learn and grow. Ultimately, humility is the freedom to enjoy and praise love (‘Your love is wonderful, because it not deserved but freely given’).

And thus to the second benefit of weakness: strength.

Strength. Only the humble are truly strong, because only the humble move through their own weakness to seek the real strength of another. This is clear again in Deuteronomy 7, when God points his people forward to when they will face enemies. How should they react?

If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt
Deuteronomy 7:17-18 (esv)

If Israel compare themselves with enemies, it’s the same as relying on their own strength. Their fear would say, ‘I do not know if I am strong enough.’ God says, ‘There is no doubt – you are not strong enough. So, trust me and my work and my salvation. I’ve done it before!’

Thank God that the whole Bible message is that of weakness leading to both humility and strength. Its peak is the cross of Christ. In humility, I see that my sin-weakness is so profound that it led to the death of Jesus. In strength, I see that Jesus’ cross has washed away the punishment and power of my sin-sickness.