Don't believe me? Try these on for size:
- Abraham and Sarah are the beginning of a vast nation made up of their descendants, but they did not have a child of their own until Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 years old!
- Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers and then thrown into prison when falsely accused, ends up preserving his family and a host of people from other nations by becoming second in command to only Pharaoh.
- Esther, who hid her racial identity and who had no power other than her beauty, preserves her people from mass genocide because of her courage and willingness to be known as a Jew.
- Peter, who repeatedly fails in the clutch as Jesus' disciple, blows it big time by denying the Lord three times even with cursing, but then is reclaimed by Jesus and leads 3,000 people to Christ on the day of Pentecost.
- Saul, trained to be a Jewish Rabbi, was the lead persecutor of Jesus' followers who felt that Jesus was a blasphemer and was responsible for Stephen's death. Yet Saul meets the Lord on the road to Damascus and becomes the apostle Paul, God's apostle to the Gentiles.
Yes, God delights in taking the most unusual circumstances to choose the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things.
This is the case with Moses. Even though he had been raised in Pharaoh's palace, Moses had to flee Egypt as a murderer and spent forty years herding sheep in the middle of nowhere — the deserts of Midian. Moses wasn't good at public speaking before his 40 years of conversations with no one but his family, the endless sand, and the stinky sheep. Yet God calls him to speak for the people of Israel, and for God himself, before the most powerful ruler in the ancient world, Pharaoh.
Despite God's call to Moses from the burning bush that wouldn't burn up, Moses gave five reasons why he was the wrong choice:
- Who am I? — I'm not good enough (Exodus 3:11).
- Who are you? — People won't know who sent me (Exodus 3:13).
- What if they don't believe me? — They have no reason to believe in me (Exodus 4:1).
- Why me? — I can't speak very well, so I'm not going to convince anybody (Exodus 4:10).
- Why not someone else? — I really don't want to do it (Exodus 4:13).
While the LORD grows quite angry by the fifth excuse, he answers each of Moses' doubts and then uses him mightily for the next 40 years to bring deliverance for God's people. But, God has to first deliver Moses from his limited view of himself before he can bring deliverance to God's people.
Satan has a way of beating us up with life, using our own negative self-talk to create doubt in our hearts, and reminding us of our past failures and broken dreams. Our adversary is a deceiver and a liar seeking to kill the dreams in our hearts and sucking the life out of our years (John 8:44).
Before long, we passively sit on the sidelines and begin to believe that others are more qualified than we are. We give up on our dreams and don't look at other ways to see those dreams come true through others. We become accustomed to living in our own Midian desert — bored and yet comforted by the sameness and predictability of life in our desert, hidden away from the stresses and challenges of doing anything of significance for God.
Then one day we are praying the familiar words Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." In the middle of saying this old, familiar prayer, the Holy Spirit stirs something in our hearts and reminds us of dreams we thought were long dead — dreams to do something great for God, dreams to be used by God, dreams to make a difference for God, dreams that bring a taste of God's kingdom to a world caught in Satan's grip. And then we have a choice. We have to choose which voice we will follow: the voice of the Liar or the voice of God. And we have to decide if we believe that what God once did, he still longs to do. Because...
God delights in taking the most unusual circumstances to choose the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things.
And underneath this truth, each of us needs to realize that one of those most "unlikely people" he wants to use is... me!
For a great modern story of God using someone we would think is least likely to be used by God because of the very difficult circumstances he faces, learn the story of Robert Reid: