Skeletons in the Closet
When God decided to give mankind the record of Scripture, He accomplished it by giving a record of people's lives. Strangely enough, He decided not to edit out all the failures of our forefathers or the sins of the saints.
One wealthy media mogul commented not too long ago that "Christians are losers." What he probably meant was that all of the Christians he had come in contact with had been less successful than he had been. Then again, he might have known a Christian or two who had failed to live up to what he intuitively knew a Christian should be.
Frankly, you'd think that God would do everything possible to enhance the reputation of His saints—not spill the beans on what they were like during moments of total failure and rebellion.
However, one of the strongest arguments for the inspiration of Scripture is that it includes details that you and I probably would have edited out . . . or covered up. But God didn't. He pulled the skeletons out of the closet of some of His choicest servants. He recorded their failures, often with more detail than their successes.
God could have left the flawless history of Abraham intact. After all, he was called one of God's friends. Did we need to know that Abraham lied about his wife being his sister in order to save his own skin—not once, but twice?! And then we learned that his son Isaac would inherit the same problem of not telling the truth—too much information?
And what about King David? We would have liked to hear only that David was a man after God's own heart, he courageously killed Goliath, served as Israel's greatest king, and prepared Solomon to build the great temple. Did God really have to tell us of David's adultery and murderous cover-up . . . and then throw in the account about his utter failure as a father to Absalom?
Then there's Jonah. The summation of his ministry could have ended with chapter three, where all of Nineveh repents after hearing him preach. Now that's a success story worth repeating! Instead, God tacks on one more chapter which shows Jonah throwing a temper tantrum because he wanted Nineveh to burn, not turn. At the end of his biography we find out that Jonah wasn't interested in their redemption, but their annihilation.
Why scuff the polish on the shoes of our greatest saints? The answer is equally straightforward: God wants to communicate that He uses undeserving, foolish, sinful, faithless, and even incompetent people to accomplish His work in the world . . . which leaves room for you and me.
The fuller story of these biographies in Scripture reveals a God of incredible grace and compassion (not to mention patience), Who uses frail, stumbling children to fulfill His purposes.
He's also letting us know that failures aren't fatal. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.
If you've failed in your past [think: Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Gideon, Peter, Mark, and the list goes on], you're in good company. Get on your knees and confess your sin, and then get back up on your feet and live for Christ.
Add your biography of faith to all the others of past and present generations. Delight in the fact that God has the gracious habit of using losers to demonstrate His ultimate victory over sin and sorrow.
So shove those skeletons back into the closet, lock the door, and get into the game . . . you have no excuse to sit this one out!
Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to help you remember that He alone is able, trustworthy, and good. Thank Him for these truths and reflect before Him on the many times that He has forgiven you in your life. Thank Him for second, third, fourth (and even more!) chances to serve Him.
Extra Refreshment: Read Matthew 1 and note the names of and references to former failures.
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