Today I want to focus on what kind of men God calls into His service. I remember as a kid being taught about the heroes of the faith, the mighty men of God who stood against overwhelming odds and succeeded because they were made of heroic stuff. I remember Charlton Heston as Moses as he stood against Egypt, Joshua leading the conquest of the Promised Land, the stories of the heroic shepherd boy David as he stood before Goliath, and Samson slaying a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ***. It seemed to me that God chose these men because they were made of heroic stuff and it was their destiny. Other men were not heroes, or so it seemed, because they simply were not made of the right stuff. The fantasies of a young boy who dreams of being heroic himself...
How wrong I was. As I grew older and more mature as a Christian I realized how flawed each of those heroes actually was. Although their heroic deeds remained undiminished the picture of the man became clearer. No longer did I see them as a young boy sees his heroes, as those who cannot do wrong because doing something wrong wasn't in the character of a hero. But now I know that the men I regard as heroes are simply men who responded correctly to God in extraordinary circumstances (and even ordinary circumstances) and succeeded by the power and grace of God.
Take Moses for example, everyone knows the story of him killing the Egyptian and then fleeing for his life. Or David, a man after Gods own heart, committing adultery with Bathsheba, or how Samson allowed his ego to be his downfall. Yet God used each of these men to accomplish His will.
You may have notice that I failed to mention Joshua in the preceding paragraph. I was saving him as the main focus. On several occasions either Moses or God Himself had to call upon Joshua to be "strong and courageous" (DT 31:7, 31:23, JOS 1:6, 1:7, 1:9). It is my contention that Joshua had to be encouraged or reminded to be strong and courageous because he wasn't. Joshua had been called to a position of leadership after the death of Moses and I am not convinced that it was something he sought. After all he was Mose' aide for some thirty or forty years and was witness to all the whining and bellyaching of the Israelites. Who in their right mind would want that job? Who, besides those who hunger and thirst for power, would even consider themselves to be qualified for such a task?
Joshua sets the example for us to follow; when God calls you to a position of service you humbly accept the call and perform it to the best of your abilities regardless of your own personal weaknesses and fears. In JOS 1:9 God tells Joshua, "Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." God will not set you up to fail. If you fail because of lack of support from God, His glory is tarnished and He is not going to let that happen.
So what kind of men does God call? Is it the clear-eyed and focused heroic type who do no wrong because it goes against their heroic nature, or it it deeply flawed men full of weakness and fear who step out in faith and answer the call? I think you already know the answer. God has called deeply flawed men from the beginning and transforms them into heroes. God calls us to step beyond ourselves and to accomplish things that can only be explained as of God. God calls us to do things beyond our own abilities so that there is no doubt who gets the glory.
Remember brothers, Moses, Joshua, David, and Samson were no more heroic than we are, they just answered the call.
What is your answer?