Thursday, November 19

Bible Characters I Struggle With

Ever read a book a find yourself turned off by a main wonder how or why the author created and used them??? Well, there are a few Bible characters that I struggle with. Every time I read their stories, I would how and why the Author (God) used them. Anyhow, I thought I'd share a few flawed characters with you:
  1. Gideon--My first frustration is this man whose story is in Judges 6-9. Here is a punk kid that God chooses to use. God shows up, tells Gideon that He is going to use Gideon to save the Israelites from the Midianites, gives Gideon 3 signs to prove that God is really God, and allows Gideon to destroy the Midianites with an army of 300 men. 300 MEN! So far so good, right? Well, after this is when Gideon's story goes south. As a main leader of the community, Gideon commands everyone to give him gold so that he can make an ephod which everyone then worships. Hello? God used you in a huge way and you end up worshipping a piece of gold.
  2. Samson--His story is also in Judges, from chapters 13-16. Chapter 13 is a wonderful story of how God appeared to Samson's parents, who were barren, and informs them that God will give them a son. Moreover, God is setting apart this child from conception to be used by God. God had chosen this baby for His purposes even before the babe was born! That is cool. However, Samson lives not for God but for Himself. His weakness is women and falls prey to three of them, the last of whom lead to his capture and death. Samson also shows a disregard for God's laws even though he must have known the calling on his life.
  3. Jonah--*Sigh* I couldn't read his story for a couple years because I'd get mad every time I read it. Jonah has a whole book dedicated to his story. Jonah was a prophet...which means that God gave him words to say on God's behalf. So in the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and to tell them that they need to change their behaviors and hearts or they would die. (Understandably, the people of Nineveh were known to be A.W.F.U.L!) If God told me that, I'd would be shaking in my boots and crying. Jonah must have felt the same because he decides to run away from God (and Nineveh). God does a couple things and eventually Jonah is re-routed back towards Nineveh. Jonah gives them the message and guess what? The whole city listens, including the king. They all cry out to God, decide to change their ways and God saves them! Good news??? It sure is! although Jonah goes and pouts because God didn't kill the Ninevites like He promised. Seriously! You can read about it in Jonah 4.
Every time I read these men's stories, I feel frustrated. God chose them and used them and yet their hearts were more self-focused rather than God-focused. But it is usually at this point that I realise that I am mostly frustrated that God did use them when He knew how they would ultimately act. Being frustrated with God isn't usually a good thing, so then I try to pick out lessons from the stories because God put their stories in the Bible regardless of how them men acted. So what should I be learning from them?
  • God can and will use both the good and not-so-good individual to accomplish His goals.
  • God's power and love can still shine brightly through perpetually flawed people.
  • Despite what the three men did, God was still in charge.
  • Just because you're chosen by God does not mean that you are perfect...only that you have a perfect God working in and through you.
I guess those are lessons worth learning, even if the means is a bit murky!

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