1. smallest animal: an animal that is considerably smaller than others of the same kind, especially the smallest or weakest animal in a litter
2. offensive term: an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody’s stature as short or physical strength as lacking
Most of you are familiar with the term “runt of the litter.” It refers to that small, frail puppy that gets shoved away from her mother by her furry siblings or that tiny, scrawny kitten that looks like he might not make it. These weaklings don’t hold much promise of great things in the future. Compared to their bigger, stronger brothers and sisters, they don’t have much going for them.
As I read Deuteronomy 7, I discovered a verse that I had read many times but overlooked its powerful truth. In verse 7 God says to the wandering people of Israel: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.”
This portion of Deuteronomy reveals God giving instructions to the people as they looked forward to one day entering into the Land of Promise. Basically He says that He would drive out the nations before the people and that they should remain faithful to Him. They were never to forget that the land they would inhabit and the nation they would become was not solely due to their own wisdom and strength. They would become a nation for one reason and one reason alone – because God had favored them.
In Deuteronomy 7:7, God says quite simply that he chose the runt of the litter. There was nothing impressive about these people. They were not smarter than everyone else. They were not more powerful or more numerous that the people around them. They were not even more religious than others. God saw their smallness and weakness, and for His own reasons He loved them and chose them.
Have you ever pulled for the underdog in a sporting event? Have you ever looked at a small child walking among her almost giant classmates and hoped against all hope that she might achieve something well beyond her stature? Do you pull for the little guy to be the last man standing? Have you ever looked into a litter of puppies (kittens – if you prefer felines) and wanted to take the runt and help nurture it and make it strong? If so, then you are touching the hem of God’s robe.
When you feel small in a great big world – when you feel overwhelmed and almost overcome – remember that God picked the runt of the litter. God is not impressed with the externals. He does not see things the way the world sees. The Lord “…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). He has compassion on the weak, the orphan, the widow, and the stranger. No one is too small, too weak, or too insignificant for God to choose him and use him. He will reach His tender hand into the litter and lift out the frail one who is shoved aside and helpless. He will bring that little one close to His chest and say, “This one is mine.” Are you that one?