Friends

This coming Sunday we are going to be looking at the fact that God uses “weak people.”  Instead of hiding and denying our weaknesses, we need to learn to recognize them.  We need to learn to share them.  And we need to learn to glory in our weaknesses.  Because if God is ever going to use you greatly, you will walk with a limp the rest of your life.  Read the story of Jacob.

Can God really use something weak to point people to Him?  Yes!  He does it all the time.  I love 1 Corinthians 1:27 CEV “But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame.  He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.”

People say, “Well, I don't believe God can use me.”  You are insulting God.  You are limiting Him.  “Well,” you say, “all right then, I will just serve God in my poor little old weak way.”  Quit it!  He doesn't want you to serve him in your “poor little old weak way.”  God wants to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through them!

There are many examples of this in the Bible.  Take Rahab, who saved the lives of the 2 Hebrew spies.  Look at the widow of Zarephath who fed Elijah.  Look at the boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

This is the kind of people God wants to use. He delights to use them.  He’s done it from the dawn on time! Gideon, Deborah, young Samuel, Ruth the widow, David the shepherd boy, Esther the orphan, Matthew the tax collector. Don’t forget Cornelius, the member of an occupying army; Saul, the church-persecutor; Peter, the denier; and John Mark, the deserter.

It's not your fame; it's your faith.  It's not your scholarship; it's your relationship.  It's not your ability; it is your availability.  It's not who you know; it's Whose you are that counts.

One my favorite stories on this subject, is Elijah.  When we think of Elijah, we generally think of powerful miracles.  No doubt he was one of the greatest miracle-working prophets of all. He raised the dead. He stopped the rain. He called fire down from heaven.  (I think he would be a great guy to have at a barbecue.)

The Bible tells us that Elijah was a Tishbite, from Gilead.  That means very little to us, but it’s important for us to know that Gilead was east of the Jordan River.  The people who lived there were roughhewn, tanned from the sun, and tough.  He would have dressed in animal skins.  We know Elijah as a man who was bold and courageous.  He was fearless.

When we hear a story like Elijah’s, we might ask, “What does this have to do with me?” Yet the Bible tells us in the book of James that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (5:17).  The New Living Translation says, “Elijah was as human as we are.”

Sometimes Elijah seems like he was a superman, but he was not.  In fact, he had moments of great fear.  At one point he was so despondent that he wanted to give up and die.

Have you ever felt that way?  Here is the good news.  God can use flawed people.  God can use imperfect people.  God can use people who have weaknesses.  In fact, it appears God goes out of His way to find people like that.

Why?  Because if God only used super talented, beautiful, handsome, people, we would say, “There is no hope for us.”  But when God uses the person who is pretty much like we are, we know there is hope.

Today our society and culture often considered Christians to be a weak, puny, pathetic, useless group of religious idiots.  They were literally the butt of all the jokes and were viewed as societal rubbish.

You see, the devil fears believers because He knows the power and authority they possess.  That’s why he uses the entertainment industry, educational institutions, and other human agencies to try to belittle the Church and make it look irrelevant, inconsequential, and trivial.

The enemy does everything he can to give the impression that we are minor-league players — a worthless waste of time.  He knows the power God has placed at our disposal, so he attempts to discredit us in the eyes of the world.  Therefore, if we perceive that the Church today is the butt of jokes and viewed in a derogatory fashion, we just need to realize that this perception is nothing new.

Here’s one more example of God using weak people- read the story of Gideon.  I think the Bible’s most courageous coward was Gideon.

Just before heading into battle with the mighty Midianite army, Gideon hears from God: “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men.  I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’”  (Judges 7:2 NIV).  So, God gives Gideon a couple of tests, designed to trim the ranks.

Test 1 is to send all the fearful people home.  It turns out that’s a decent number, and 22,000 of Gideon’s 32,000 leave.  (I wonder if Gideon tried to sneak off with them?) Now, that might not have been a foolish decision.  Fear is contagious, so 10,000 brave soldiers are better than three times that many if 70% of them are wimps.

But if Test 1 was designed to create a braver army, Test 2 was only designed to create a smaller and weaker one.  God tells Gideon to have his men drink from a stream, and all the men who “lap like dogs” (who does that?) are the ones that should stay.  It’s an arbitrary test, but an effective one: only 300 men remain.

God was teaching Gideon what He wants to teach us today: when He wants to use us, He often begins by weakening us.  As Hudson Taylor said, God wants you to have something far better than riches and gold, and that is helpless dependence on him.”

Are you weak enough to be used by God? 

Make every Day Count.

Barry

Come Sunday and hang out with the “weak people”