Faith Hall of Fame

Step 8: Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.

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If you made a truly honest movie of the Bible, most of the Old Testament would have to be at least R-rated, and even that’s with certain scenes toned down. Behind the heroic stories of faith many of us grew up with in Sunday School are secondary stories of murder, adultery, incest, drunkenness, deceit, lust, jealousy, general mayhem and overall debauchery. And these are just the good guys we’re talking about — the heroes, so to speak. Wait until you hear about the other guys!

Behind the scenes, you find out that Solomon was a bigamist, Samson was a womanizer, Jacob was a deceiver, Gideon was an idolater, David was an adulterer and murderer, and Jonah was running away from God even after he got to Nineveh. It’s important to note also that these bad behaviors were not just stories of how bad these people were before God got a hold of them; they were this way after — even during — being used of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purposes. In many cases, God’s will depended on their sinful activity. Jacob would never have gotten the blessing and become the Father Israel, had he not schemed, lied and tricked his way into receiving it from his father, Isaac. Go figure. The road Samson took that ended in taking out thousands of the enemy including all of its rulers, ran through a forbidden relationship with a Canaanite woman he didn’t even bother marrying. Over and over again this kind of thing happens.

And these are our models?

Bono, of U2, once said, “That the scriptures are brim full of hustlers, murderers, cowards, adulterers and mercenaries used to shock me. Now it is a source of great comfort.”

And just what would that comfort be? It would be the fact that God’s Hall of Fame is crowded with people guilty of crimes I would have never even thought of committing, and the obvious comfort in that is the knowledge that if God loves and uses these kinds of people, there’s certainly hope for you and me. God not only uses us in spite of our weakness, failure and sin; He uses us because of these things. They are a part of the story.

You ultimately have to ask the question: “Why did God choose people like this? Why didn’t He pick good, upstanding individuals who would exemplify His righteous standards in the way they went about living their lives?” And sooner or later the answer comes back, “because these are the only people He has to work with.” In other words, those guys who look like they are upstanding and righteous are really not. They are just a bunch of Pharisees who look good on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones.

Pharisees are all about good behavior. True Christianity is all about faith and bad behavior all mixed together, with God’s will coming out in the end. It’s terribly messy, but then again, it’s what the grace of God is all about. God is basically saying, “Give me a bunch of messed up people whose hearts are turned towards me, and I will change the world with them.” So what are we waiting for?

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3 Responses to Faith Hall of Fame

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Let me plz share this: Had something really neat happen to me. I’ll try to explain to the best of my ability. Early today I went on my scooter to go grocery shopping. As I went to go pay, it refused to my pass-code more than 4 times, so it locked me out! Which just pissed me off!

    As I’m going back home, I’m thinking my God why is this happening to me!?! The answer I get in my heart is: why am I getting blamed 4 the technical ‘glitch’? (also I know that I know I typed it correctly all of those four times!)

    I got home & called my home health aid to tell her I need to go back shopping again & to plz come latter on. When talking to her, becauz she had forgotten her Grandma’s funeral and cudn’t make it anyway, so I go all the way back up there and re-did all of the shopping. With a different credit card (instead of my ATM card) and found out I had forgotten Oatmeal the 1st time… So I’m thinking & talking to God, saying all of this becauz I forgot Oatmeal and the answer I get back is just be patience… and you’ll see.

    I paid 4 my food and as I’m leaving I CANNOT help but notice this absolutely beautiful young Arabic looking woman w/ a young girl. We exchange hellos then she stops me and say’s she as seen me before and ask’s where I live? As I’m telling her, I notice she’s crying…

    So I asked her are u OK? She goes sir I’m so embarrassed to ask u this, but I’ll not get paid 4 a few more days and I need to get some food 4 my kids and she promised to pay me back.
    I told her no problem, so I followed her back in the grocery store and she keeps on saying I’ll only get a few things. And I keep telling her get all that u need and plz don’t worry about it – She smiles wide through her tears..
    .
    As we’re getting done I asked what would she had done, if she didn’t meet me? She replied, I don’t know I came up here on faith and as soon as I seen you the Lord spoke to my heart and said ask him. He’ll hep
    .
    I’m crying as I type this long story in, yet it’s soooooooooo GOOD to be used of by God even thou I am a recovering Pharisee and be a blessing to someone else!
    PS she wouldn’t leave me alone until I gave her my phone number. I told her, she was a great big blessing to me and when I told her what had happen to me earlier – she and her daughter had a hard time speaking because they both couldn’t stop crying!

    • jwfisch says:

      Beautiful story, Mark. Thanks for sharing a little grace turned outward with us. Something tells me this may not be the end of it, either.

      • Mark Seguin says:

        And to now add: she, LouLou this woman I helped is her name called me to thank me 4 the very good and filling dinner, she said – I laughed as I could hear her kids in the background playing & having a nice time – we might met-up for coffee tomorrow, plz whisper a prayer, OK…. 🙂

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