God Calls the Unqualified
God Shines Through Flawed People
Every time you go to get a job, the business that is seeking to hire someone looks to see if you are qualified. Most employers want to see a resume to find out something about you such as your education, past job history, and references. Each time the company hires the one whom they feel to be the best fit for the position for which they are interviewing. They look for the most qualified. And a majority of the time they won't even look at a person with no experience.
It is interesting that God isn't like that. As a matter of fact, He does just the opposite. He chooses the unqualified and makes them qualified. I love what the Apostle Paul has to tell us. He said:
"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:26-30).
If we look back through the history of God's people throughout the ages, it has always been the case that He has taken someone flawed in some way, and has given them a central place in His plan of salvation for the world. Indeed, God could have looked at Adam and Eve after their sin in the Garden of Eden and He could have destroyed them on the spot and started over again with another creature. However, He didn't do that. As a matter of fact, He promised Eve that it would be her offspring that would ultimately defeat Satan and his followers (Genesis 3:15). And throughout salvation history, the Lord has continued to use flawed men and women to shine forth his glory in this evil world.
Let us take a look at some of the flawed people that God has used in Scripture.
I. Old Testament Examples
It is interesting that if you look at the most famous of Bible characters, they are on display, warts and all. Take Noah for instance. Though he was the great man of faith that built the Ark, later he got drunk and naked (Genesis 9:21).
Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish nation, through which all of the nations of the earth would be blessed, lied about his wife being his sister, not once but twice, because he was afraid that he'd be killed (Genesis 12 and 20).
Sarah, Abraham's wife, was physically unqualified to have a son through which all the nations of the world would be blessed. Isaac's birth came about from a miracle - Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5), and Sarah, at age 90, had been unable to have children (Genesis 16:1, 17:17). As explained, "Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac."
It is no coincidence that the name Isaac means laughter. There is probably a double meaning behind this. First, is the fact that after all those years, God brought laughter into the household of these two old people. Secondly, Sarah laughed in disbelief at the thought that she would have a son in her old age (Genesis 18:12-14). It seems that God had the last laugh.
The patriarch Jacob was a deceiver. He took advantage of his brother Esau when he was hungry and got Esau to give up his birthright. He later, with the help of his mother, tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing of the firstborn instead of Esau (Genesis 25:19-34;27:1-41).
Moses was a reluctant leader. He told the Lord to get someone else to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land because he had a speech impediment (Exodus 4:10).
Later Moses showed he had a temper when he angrily struck the rock that the Lord told him to strike that would give water to the people of Israel. In his anger, he didn't give the Lord the credit for the water but glorified himself and Aaron. Because of this Moses, who lead God's people to the Promised Land, didn't make it in himself (Numbers 20:1-12).
E. King David
King David was called a "man after God's own heart" (I Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). And yet he was an adulterer and a murderer. He took Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, had sex with her and killed Uriah to cover up his sin. After Uriah's death, David made Bathsheba one of his many wives (II Samuel 11).
F. King Solomon
King Solomon started out very well. God, in a dream, told Solomon to ask for anything and he'd give it to him. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God's people well. God, was pleased and gave him what he desired. He became one of the wisest men who ever lived. And God also gave him great wealth as well (II Chronicles 1:7-12).
However, later in life, Solomon married many foreign women who turned his heart toward other gods. And he was no longer fully devoted to the Lord (I Kings 11:1-8). It was because of this sin that God tore the Kingdom apart shortly after Solomon died (I Kings 11:9-13).
These are just a few of the Old Testament examples of the imperfect people that the Lord has chosen to use. We could name many more, for they all were imperfect in some way. However, let us turn now to the New Testament to see how the pattern continues.
II. New Testament Examples
A. The Twelve Apostles
The twelve Apostles that the Lord chose were nothing special before he picked them. We know that Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen. Matthew came from a hated group at that time. He was a tax collector. The rest of their professions are not named, which leads us to conclude that status didn't matter in Christ's choice of these men.
The Apostle Peter, out of fear at Jesus' death, denied Jesus 3 times. He earlier told the Lord that, though all would desert him, he would remain faithful (Matthew 26:33-35). All the other Apostles fled for their lives when Christ was taken. None stayed to defend their Master (Matthew 26:55,56).
However, with the exception of Judas, who betrayed him, God used these men to change the world with the Gospel. And the world will never be the same!
B. The Apostle Paul
Before his conversion Paul the Apostle was called Saul. He persecuted and killed the followers of Christ, thinking he was doing God's work (Acts 8:3). He later called himself "the worst of sinners" (I Timothy 1:15).
And yet after his conversion, it could be argued that Paul became one of the greatest Christian evangelists of all time. He wrote a vast portion of the New Testament, and like all but one of the other Apostles (i.e. John), he was martyred for his faith.
We could have named many more Bible characters that God used greatly, despite their flaws, but the ones listed above should prove the point. The Lord didn't choose perfect people, because there are no such creatures. He used ordinary, everyday individuals, for the most part, who would not have been chosen by this world. They were His vessels to show forth His glory and power to a lost and dying world.
The obvious parallel here is that if the Lord can use these flawed individuals, he can certainly use you. As a matter of fact, the more flawed you are, the greater God's glory can shine through you as a trophy of His grace. So don't ever think that our Lord can never use you. God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called. And if you are saved, He has called you to be one of His ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:20). And what a wonderful and marvelous calling that is!
© 2014 Jeff Shirley