The Anawim

The term “anawim” in Hebrew means “the poor seeking the Lord for deliverance.” Although the term is only used some 23 times in the plural, the idea of God’s people being poor and delivered by Him is found throughout the Scripture.

God has always taken the ones in the position of powerlessness, and placed them in the position of strength. In this, he displays His strength all the greater.

Lot  Genesis 13-19
Of course he took the best land when it was offered-who wouldn’t? How was he to know that Sodom was slated for destruction by God’s immorality wrecking crew? Now here he is in the middle of the desert, destruction all around him, his wife fit only for a saltshaker, his daughters thinking incest is her best way to move the family forward… Well, God made it up to him, by allowing him to be the father of two great nations.
Hagar  Genesis 16-21
Her mistress told her to have sex with her master, and she did. So why does her mistress beat her when she became pregnant? When Hagar ran away, an angel-messenger told her to return and live under her mistress’ abuse— so she did. When her mistress had a son of her own, years later, she was told to pack up and leave— so she did. Because of her stubborn obedience, God made her descendants into a populous desert nation.
Joseph  Genesis 37-50
So he boasted a little bit and humiliated his brothers. Is there any reason for him to be thrown, starving, into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused of sexual misconduct, and cast into jail? Apparently God thought he’d been through enough, so he then made Joseph Prime Minister of the most powerful country in the world.
Tamar  Genesis 38
She married one brother. He died. He left her no kid. She was given to the second brother. He died. No kid. Daddy wasn’t taking chances on the third brother. So she put a veil on, loosened the top buttons on her blouse, and targeted daddy, and he didn’t know who she was. After her pregnancy was obvious, daddy was ready to kill her. Until she proved to him that daddy was the daddy. God makes her the matriarch of the kings of Jerusalem.
The Children of Israel  Exodus
They were enslaved in Egypt for generations. They remember God and cry out to him. Ten plagues. Dead men everywhere. Crossing the Red Sea without needing to change into bathing suits. Voila! Quick deliverance. Then He makes them his select nation for all time.
Rahab  Joshua 2-6; Matthew 1:5
Jericho sex-worker, destined for destruction with the rest of her city, who was more scared of Israel’s God than her own. Backed the right horse, and was given asylum. Oh, yeah, and God made her an ancestor of the Messiah.
Gideon  Judges 6-8
A coward hiding in a hole until an angel proclaims him “mighty warrior!” Three hundred men against thousands, a few lanterns against swords and chariots— God would only pull him out if Gideon would face the overwhelming odds set against him.
Jephthah  Judges 11-12
Important father, but his mother was a prostitute. Dang, bad luck— he was kicked out of the family. He became leader of a band of outlaws. But when an army attacked his community, he was the only one who could save them. And, he won back the respect of the community.
Samson  Judges 13-16
Devoted to God before he was born, he was made strong by God’s power (no steroids necessary), as long as he didn’t touch wine or cut his hair. Unfortunately, there was no requirement to keep his zipper shut. After playing with the wrong woman once too many, he was weakened, enslaved and tortured. Finally, God allowed him one last shot to destroy his enemies— as long as he died in the process.
Ruth  Ruth
A family from Israel goes to Moab and the sons marry the wrong wives— Moabites. When father and sons die, the mother goes back home, and her one ex-daughter-in-law insists in coming with. She adopts to the new culture and the new God like a fish in water. Her new husband is rich, and they become the ancestors of the kings of Judea.
Hannah  I Samuel 1-2
Her co-wife thinks herself better because she’s got lots of kids, and Hannah doesn’t. Hannah is so forsaken, she goes to the temple to pray and is rebuked for being drunk. But God hears her prayer anyway, and her son becomes ruler and priest of all Israel.
David  I Samuel 16-II Samuel 24
The important priest names little David king, but no one knows it (frankly, no one would believe it). Yeah, he kills a giant, and slays some thousands of enemies, but the king still isn’t impressed. He tries to kill David and David runs away for a few years. In nowhereland, David leads a rag-tag band of nowheremen, making few plans. Finally, the king dies and David is made king.