A tip of the hat this morning to all the “lefties” amongst us. You know, the south-pawed people around us. The ones who can claim they are the only ones in their right mind. According to factretriever.com, here are some interesting lefty factoids:
• Words that can be typed with just the left hand: grease, east, west, reverberate, cascade, weedeater;
• Lefties make up 10-12 percent of the population, is more common in men and twins;
• Women over 40 who give birth are more likely to have left-handed babies;
• Left-handedness has often been associated with evil arts, witchcraft, and sorcery. During the Inquisition, being left-handed was enough to get you burned;
• “God made all people right-handed. The truly gifted overcome that.” (Anonymous)
Yes, lefties are misrepresented and under-serviced in a right-hand dominated world. It is powerful to sit on the king’s right hand, we offer the right-hand of friendship, a good morning starts from the right side of the bed. And I must share this confession - in kindergarten I was forced to change from being a leftie to a righty. Draw your own conclusions.
So I’m intrigued by a story in Judges 3 about a left-handed assassin named Ehud. You can read the story here: Ehud in Judges 3.
With all the skill and craft of a Tom Clancy spy thriller, the author of Judges 3 describes Israel’s perilous state, their desperate calls to God, and how after 18 years God sent them a deliverer, Ehud. We don’t know a lot about Ehud, but the author takes the time to provide two significant details. He was from the tribe of Benjamin (considered one of the smallest and least significant tribes; this guy is not a power-broker in the local political landscape), and he is a leftie. A southpaw. A guy who struggled to survive in a mighty-righty world, probably treated with some suspicion for his “disadvantage.” A most unlikely secret agent for God.
As you read the story (if you haven’t done that yet, take that mouse/trackball/pad and go back to the link above and use the LEFT click button to read the story), you will see how his left-handedness becomes an advantage (he is able to hide his dagger). Evidently, despite popular stereo-types, he is also very “handy” because he makes the dagger himself. As a result of his actions, Israel is free from external oppression for eighty years.
It is an intriguing moment in Biblical history and a well-told story. But what is the point?
Ehud is a guy with distinct societal disadvantages: from an insignificant demographic of Israel’s population (tribe of Benjamin) and left-handed. Yet God used this most unlikely of people to restore the ancient people of God back to Himself.
Words matter. What we deem as insignificant, God may use in immeasurable ways. Jesus taught His disciples the last would be first, and the greatest amongst them was the servant. God used a bunch of pagan sailors to save Jonah and ultimately all of Nineveh. Through a poor, vulnerable widow God saved Elijah. This kind of upside-down reality is an integral quality of the Kingdom of God. It redefines what we believe is true, what we hold as valuable, and what we understand as real.
And we are constantly surprised! As William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” Or, to paraphrase Isaiah, “His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways” (Isa. 55:8). If our Father’s eyes are on the sparrow, if He is able to save Jonah, if He cares for a vulnerable widow, then God’s loving care is also upon us. If He can use a nondescript leftie to rescue a nation, He will use each of us to represent Him as secret agents of His love and grace.