If we were Israelites spies Joshua sent out ”to spy secretly” and ”view the land, even Jericho,” would we had proudly said, “we can’t let Rahab hide us under the stalks of flax, which she laid on the roof,” she’s a scandalous harlot?
If we were Naomi would we had told our daughter-in-law Ruth “you can’t go with me, live with me, or be my people because you’re an uncircumcised Moabite?”
If we were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would we had advised Daniel “you can’t serve Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, because he’s an arrogant, cruel, despicable and evil ruler?”
If we learned that Peter abandoned Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and denied Jesus thrice at Caiaphas’ courtyard campfire, would we had excommunicated the disciple?
If we were Ananias would we had told the LORD “I won’t minister to Saul of Tarsus because he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for imprisoning and slaughtering the saints at Jerusalem?”
If we were the surviving saints at Jerusalem during that time would we had not forgiven Paul, reminded Paul that he was formerly Saul, and told Saul that he’s unworthy to be forgiven?
Under our self righteousness would we have said that Rahab the scandalous harlot deserved to die in Israelites’ conquest of Jericho. She certainly wasn’t worthy to be a mark on the Messianic line. Ruth, the Moabite woman who turned out to be King David’s grandfather — well her branch should be sawed off from Jesus’ family tree?
Under our self righteousness would we have cursed Daniel for being a collaborator, criticized Daniel for interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and chided Daniel for serving in the administrations of four other arrogant, cruel, despicable and evil rulers — from Nabonidus and Belshazzar to Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian?
The LORD used Rahab, the Jericho harlot who could have been shamed assisting Joshua conquering Jericho. Instead, Rahab told the Israelite spies that ”the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”
The LORD used Daniel, the Hebrew captive who could have refused working for five bad bosses. Instead, Daniel accurately foretold and prophetically interpreted apocalyptic dreams that has stood the test of time for more than 2,600 years.
Daniel’s most dramatic prophetic interpretation was when he deciphered a wall inscription, which prophesied that Belshazzar’s kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
“MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” the LORD wrote with His finger on the wall during Belshazzar’s palace bash, for thousands of the lords to see.
Daniel told Belshazzar the interpretation. “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!”
Centuries later the LORD used Ananias, the Damascus disciple who could have scoffed at converting Saul. Ananias could have said that he “heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.” Instead, Ananias went over, prayed for him and said: ”Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”
The LORD used Paul, the Tarsus tentmaker of the Tribe of Benjamin. Saul was an educated Pharisee and defender of the Jewish faith who could have let his Christian persecution past hold him back from his Jesus serving future. If Paul had focused on himself he would have prevented himself from being the “chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” Instead, Paul evangelized, preached, taught, mentored, shepherded and penned 13 New Testament Epistles!
And the LORD used Peter, the Sea of Galilee fisherman who could have returned to his family fishing business. Instead, Peter heeded Jesus’ great “go ye therefore, and teach all nations” commission, played a prominent role in the early church, wrote the books of 1 Peter and 2 Peter, and was martyred for his faith — choosing to be crucified for his LORD upside down.
If the LORD used a prostitute and an outsider. If the LORD positioned a Jewish captive to serve evil superiors. If the LORD used a coward and a man who killed fellow saints, surely the LORD can use you and me.
At times we look self-righteously at those the LORD uses. Do we, at times, forget that the LORD also uses us?
—Ronald F Owens Jr