Have you ever struggled with your past? Wonder, how could God ever use you? Felt your past disqualified you from being used by God? Ever felt your life had too many flaws, mistakes and failures to be used by God? Felt weak, lacked faith and inexperienced? Stay with me today, I have some good news for you my friend.
Have you ever compared yourself to one of the “heroes” of faith found throughout the Bible? Wish I could be more like them? It is good to remember their victories but we must also recall their humble beginnings.
“One of the great wonders of the Gospel, God uses imperfect people to spread His glory.”
Here are my 12 candidates that God used, even with their flaws and failures.
1. Abraham- Lied about his wife, said she was his sister.
Gen 12:11-13 “As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ So please tell them you are my sister.”
2. Sarah- Felt she was too old to bear children, Laughed at the promise of having a son in her old age.
Gen 18:11-12 “Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”
3. Isaac- Son that followed in his father footsteps, lied about his wife.
Gen 26:7 “When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.”
4. Moses- Had trouble speaking. Had the right idea to save his people but went about it the wrong way, killed an Egyptian and then went on the run from Pharaoh.
Ex 4:10 “But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
Ex 2:14-15 “The man replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian.”
5. Peter- Acts without thinking, quick to the draw, drew his sword to protect Jesus cutting off a servants ear. Later denied Jesus.
Jn 18:10 “Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.”
Jn 18:17 “The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.”
6. Paul (Saul) – Played on the wrong team at first, was a persecutor of the faithful before he was called to be a preacher.
Acts 9:20-21 “And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
7. Gideon- He was fearful, hiding in a winepress, felt the Lord had abandoned them.
Judg 6:11 “Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.”
Judg 6:13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
8. David- Had an eye for a lady that led to adultery and murder.
2 Sam 11:2-4 “Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her.”
2 Sam 11:14-15 “So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.”
9. Elijah- He was troubled by life’s circumstances and wanted die.
1 Kings 19:3-4 “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
10. Jonah- Ran away from the calling of God to go to Nineveh.
Jonah 1:1-3 “The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD.”
11. Thomas- The doubting one, have you heard the phrase named after him, “Doubting Thomas”?
Jn 20:25 “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
12. James and John – Seemed more concerned about their personal goals.
Mark 10:35-37 “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
Throughout the Bible, God demonstrates His love and grace by using weak, broken and flawed people to accomplish His purposes. Let these examples today remind us that no one is beyond redemption or the reach of God’s transforming power.