When I get into a “how can God use me” negative thought pattern, He always takes me back to His Word. As a Type 5 personality, the truth can easily snap me out of any downward spiral, at least in the moment. I am not saying that always helps me step out, but it does stop that excuse.
I stand in awe of what God can do through a submitted life, regardless of the past. When people choose to step out where God places them, He does great things. I think so many times I can look at the end of the story and forget where they started. I compare their great acts with my shortcomings, and allow it to keep me from stepping out.
So here are a few of the greats’ shortcomings that leave me in awe when I consider all that God accomplished through them. God reminds us through these stories that it is His presence with the person that makes all things possible.
Moses was a murderer, made excuses, and ultimately dishonored God. He completed his mission but did not get to enter with those he lead.
“He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”
Exodus 2:12 ESV
“Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”” Exodus 4:1, 10, 13 ESV
“because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”” Deuteronomy 32:51-52 ESV
David committed adultery, tried to cover his the act. When it didn’t work David had the husband murdered.
“And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. ( Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.””
2 Samuel 11:3-5, 8-9, 15 ESV
Peter hastily cut off a man ear to protect Jesus, then turned around and denied he knew Jesus.
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.””
John 18:10, 17 ESV
Saul, later known as Paul deceived followers of Christ to gain their confidence and killed many believers.
“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
Acts 9:1-2 ESV
Abraham had his wife pretend to be his sister to protect himself so she was given to Abimelech king of Gerar .
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. Genesis 20:2
Samuel focused on outward appearance to find God’s anointed.
“When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”” 1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV
Rehab was a prostitute.
“And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.” Joshua 6:17 ESV
Aaron led the people in building and worshipping an idol calf, lied about what happened, then blamed the people.
“And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”” Exodus 32:4, 22-24 ESV
Jacob got his brother to give up his birthright, deceived his father, took what belonged to his brother.
“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. ) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?””
Genesis 25:29-32 ESV
“So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!””
Genesis 27:18-29 ESV
Tamar acted as a prostitute to entrap her father-in-law to bear children.
“In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.” Genesis 38:12-15 ESV
Judah did not uphold his word and ended up sleeping with his daughter-In-law and she ended up beating his children.
“Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained in her father’s house.
About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.” Genesis 38:11, 24-26 ESV
Jonah ran from God’s assignment, whined and got angry when God saved a town.
““Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.”
Jonah 1:2-3 ESV
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?””
Jonah 4:1-3, 10-11 ESV
Elijah ran and hid in the caves from Jezebel and asked God to end his life.
“Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.””
1 Kings 19:2-4 ESV
Solomon practiced idolatry and turned from God.
“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded.” 1 Kings 11:9-10 ESV
Noah was a drunk.
“He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.” Genesis 9:21 ESV
Although God surprises me at times, I doubt that He will ask me to save the world from a flood. I don’t think His plan is for me to be the wisest person or a leader a nation. I may never be a prophet that slays hundreds or preaches repentance to a large city. I will never be able to say that Jesus is a descendant of my womb or be a leader in the tribe of Israel. I doubt that I will lead a nation to freedom, or birth many nations. I won’t write a lot of the Bible and it is unlikely I will reach thousands for Christ. Regardless of how God wants to use my life, when those questions of doubt based on things I have done leave me questioning, I can look to these pillars of faith and stand in awe of what God will use and take the leap of faith and step out.
This post is part of a 28 days series on Stepping Out inspired by the #Write28Days Blogging Challenge by Anita Ojeda.