The above listed names are Biblical measuring sticks. These men were used for Godís purposes. The Lord chose these men for His purposes. Today, we are going to look at these men of God: a drunk, a coward, a murderer, a slacker, an adulterer, a denier, and a Christian persecutor with one purpose in mind: to show how God used them and how He will use all of us as His children if we accept His will instead of our own.
Most everyone Christian or otherwise know of Noahís story. Here is the scoop in a nutshell. God was displeased with the route taken by mankind. He decided to start over by wiping out the evil in the land. Right away, nonbelievers shout that a loving being would not first wipe out all the people or send them to hell, that is a whole other sermon all together, but wait, God was and is merciful because one man found favor in Godís sight. Noah was the man of the hour.
Genesis 6:9 Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
He walked with God. That statement is profound. Did Noah physically walk with God, probably no, but he was righteous, he did as the Lord instructed and found favor. Noah loved the wine a bit much, so before going any further, we cannot use Noah as an excuse to get plastered. More on that in a moment. Letís get back to boat building.
God instructed Noah to build the ark with certain specifications. It took Noah 120 years to finish it. The ridicule he received from the public had to be rough no doubt. Think about it. He is building a huge boat on dry land. He took it on the chin. He could have stopped and joined the masses, but he trusted God completely and completed the task as instructed.
Genesis 9:20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
Obviously, by my statement about Noah being a drunk, I wanted to grab your attention. The Bible teaches that it rained for 150 days I believe. Some of you are thinking that if you were on a boat with every kind of animal times two, you might want a drink too, but the Bible furthermore teaches against staying away from strong wine and drunkenness. If I have offended you, please, do not look for an apology. The point about Noah like all the other ones we are going to see is that he is flesh, not perfect by any means, but still usable to further Godís purpose.
Father Abraham. Most people know that name. The Lord many times in the Old Testament was called, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Yet, earlier, I labeled him a coward. Again, I label not tt maliciously slander, but to bring a point to focus.
Let us first look at how Abram stayed faithful to the calling of God in Genesis 12:1-3: The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
Can you imagine what Abram did next? He didnít clean out his hear. He did not ask, "What did you say?" He, according to verse 4, did as commanded. So Abram left, as the LORD had told him.
First example of Abram acting as a coward comes when he and the family unit arrive in Egypt.
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
I do not wish to rant here, but folks fear of death drove this man, chosen by God to be a great nation, to deny his very wife. God had already told him plain and simple what the plan was going to be! Yet, Abram let fear dictate his actions instead of glorifying the Lord.
God reunited Abram to his wife, and Pharoah understood the errors of his ways a few verses later. But there is more to tell!
Genesis 15 teaches about the covenant between Abram and the Lord. Here is part of it. "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
Abram responds with the always classic BUT. But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
We are just like Abram are we not? Yes, he followed when first instructed, but then God told him in todayís terms, I got your back, Abram interjected and replied, But God!"
But nothing. Check out The Almightyís reply. Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the starsóif indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Like Abram, we do not view time as God does. We live in a world of instantaneous gratification. We not only want something, but we gotta gotta got to have it right now! Just as Adam followed Eve, so Abram followed his wife.
Genesis 16:1-4 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Neither Abram nor his wife could wait for God. Regardless of their intention, Abrham now has a son, just not the one God will provide again not for Abramís will, but for His own purposes. God blesses Hagarís child by the way, but thatís another time.
Despite early fears and disobedience Abram known as Abraham demonstrates the second strongest example of following faith in the entire Bible in my opinion. Most of us here know that God delivered Isaac to Abraham. Now, God plans to test Abrahamís commitment.
Genesis 22:2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
This time there is not a record of Abraham saying, "But God." He simply followed his instructions. If you are a parent reading or listening to this, think of your child or children. Remember how soft their precious skin felt as you held them for the first time. Remember how your heart melted when a little voice said, Moma or Dada. Now imagine having to sacrifice them.
Genesis 22:7-8 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
Abraham did not kill Isaac naturally. The Angel of the Lord stopped him before the deed was done and commended him on his faith.Folks use the excuse of not being good enough to come to church let alone to accept Christ as Savior. We have looked at two examples of regular folks who God used despite their having flaws. The next example is no different. For the sake of time, I will attempt to be brief. Moses killed an Egyptian that was beating a Jew. Bottom line: Moses was a murderer. He was cast out of the land. It is after this ordeal, Moses comes face to burning bush. Moses received his proverbial marching orders from the Most High. God told him that he would be used to lead Godís people, the Israelites out of captivity.
Exodus 3:10 10 "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."How does Moses respond? Look at verse 11. But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" But Moses said!?! Did he not hear what God said? But Moses said. It doesnít matter what Moses said. Moses asked the question that we all do when great tasks are at hand. "Who am I to do this?" You may see yourself as a drunk, a nobody, a coward, or a killer, but after the blood of Christ covers you and cleanses you of sin, God sees a new creation. God sees his children who worship and glorify His name. Moses by himself could not lead a dying man to life support, but with God with him, and directing him, everything went according to Godís plan! Are we any better than Moses? The book of Romans instructs that there is no favoritism with God.
God gave instructions to Jonah but Jonah ran away from the Lord. How many of us have run away from God? Here is an example: Letís say a person accepts Christ as Savior on Sunday, but by Tuesday the world has them back in the fold of the muck and mire. Are they truly saved? Not for me to say, but