Recently at our LifeGroup, we were encouraged to bring our favourite scripture to share with the others. I thought of various scriptures that had meant a lot to me such as “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest” (Matt. 11:28); “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19); and many others.
However, on reading 2 Cor. 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” I began to think of how often I had thought myself to be unworthy and incapable of doing what God wanted of me because of my weaknesses and insecurities. It suddenly dawned on me that the point was that God didn’t need me to be strong, he didn’t need me to be secure in my own strength and abilities, but he needed me to be open to His leading and available to step out in obedience. As the Lord said in Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by might (ours!) nor by power (ours), but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Wow! This was not a new revelation to me, but something that I realized I was not applying in my life.
This reminded me of something that I had once seen so I went off to Google to search for the original. (ref. www.gennesareth.org) It goes like this:
Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure … Thomas was a doubter … Elijah got depressed, Moses stuttered … Abraham was old …etc.
Do you recognise any of these names? Of course you do. They are heroes of the faith, men of God who performed mighty acts in the name of God, who led God’s people and who wrote large parts of the Bible that we have today, and without whom we would not have many of the revelations of God and His will for us. However, looking at the descriptions above, they were little different from you or I. That is the point. God uses people who are available and open to His leading.
He does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called. No excuses! At this point I would like to emphasize that God does not condone sin, and He didn’t condone the above behaviour in these people, but once they had repented and turned to Him, He was able to use them mightily. I then decided that I would make a study of some of these people of God and what they did as a study for the group, and in this article will try to convey something of what I learnt from some of them.
David was a man after God’s own heart. This was the reason that God wanted him to be King of Israel and not any of his elder brothers all of whom, humanly speaking, were more likely candidates. He was divinely chosen (1 Sam 16:13). Thank goodness God’s kingdom is a theocracy and not a democracy! David was courageous — he stood up to the lion and the bear while looking after his father’s sheep, and he stood up to Goliath, the mighty Philistine giant whom not even Saul, the king, was prepared to face, and defeated him. How? David said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” (Read the story in 1 Sam: 17).
However, after he became king, David committed adultery. The key, however, is that he repented (read Psalm 51). Sir, Madam, are you an adulterer, or have you committed some other “unforgivable” sin? You need to repent and ask God to use you again. Always remember that no sin is too great for God to forgive and “… there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
Elijah: To me, one of the great stories of the Old Testament is that of Elijah and his contest with the Prophets of Baal (read 1 Kings 18). This fearless reformer who relied on the Lord his God had a decisive victory against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and was completely vindicated.
Yet what did he do after this? Elijah ran away from Queen Jezebel and hid in a cave. (1 Kings 19: 3-4). What? Yet, is he any different from you or me? Sometimes we forget where our help comes from in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, or when we are under attack from the devil. Let us remember what these men did in the name of the Lord and with His help, and by implication what we can do.
Abraham was simply old and many of us may feel we’re past the age of being useful for God. We say that we have retired and that the young men should take over. However, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation even though he was old, and his wife, Sarah was in menopause. Nothing is too difficult for God and no-one is too old to be used by Him. How was it, then, that he was used?
Gen. 15:6 tells us, “Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness.” If you believe then you are not too old! He was also obedient. God told him to leave Harran. “Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran” (Gen. 12:4). We all know the story of how God told him to go to the mountain and sacrifice his son, his only son, Isaac, through whom the promise of the Lord to make him a great nation was to be fulfilled. He who embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son!
Abraham’s faith was vindicated, and so will ours be if we make ourselves available to
God. Let us stand up and, like Abraham, be the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of God that we have the potential to be.
Moses was another flawed hero of the faith! He was very impetuous and killed an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite slave. He also stuttered and tried to use this as an excuse not to confront Pharaoh.
In spite of this, God used him mightily in the greatest redemption story of the Old Testament. He got over himself, was obedient to God, and led the Israelites out of Egypt, through a sea and a desert! God also revealed the Ten Commandments through Moses, the law through which our sin is revealed to us in order that we may come to God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The story of how God used these and many other heroes of the Bible, and countless men and women of faith through the ages, in spite of their weaknesses, insecurities, shortcomings and sins, is a great blessing and encouragement to all of us. We simply need to repent of our sin, whatever it may be, trust Him and step out in faith in obedience to God. Remember that God and you are a majority. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
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