Ever wish you had more courage to speak up for God? Ever wish you had more faith that God will provide? Ever wondered what might happen if God showed up in a difficult relationship or circumstance that is too much for you to handle?
Well the strange paradox of strength revealed in weakness that we talked about (Sunday, May 12, 2013 – Listen again here) is repeated multiple times throughout the Bible. For example think of Moses, called by God to confront Pharaoh with the “Let my people go!” demand. Listen to this interesting dialogue…
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:10-13 NIV)
You know how that story turned out: Moses went and confronted Pharaoh; he refused to cooperate with Moses’ demand; God did the 10 dramatic plagues; and Pharaoh relented and released the Israelites who had been captive for 400 years!
Then there is the classic story about Gideon. Listen to him when God recruited Gideon to lead the Israelites…
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:15)
Fast forward 700 some-odd years to the prophet Jeremiah. God called him to be his spokesman. Jeremiah claimed…
“Lord Yahweh,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:6).
Of course, there’s also that great “hero” of faith, Jonah, who famously ran as far and as fast as he could from God’s assignment. (Read the short, powerful story of God’s love for the city of Nineveh here.) You know about the whole “being swallowed by a great fish” thing, but do you remember how that story turned out? …
“When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.’ When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)
And the common denominator in each of these — and many other — stories in the Bible of “Weakness-turned-to-strength” is… ? God. ..
The first powerful principle that we saw in 2 Corinthians 12:9a –
God assured Paul that “My grace is sufficient for you.”
And the second principle:
“God’s strength is made complete (perfected) in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)
- God reveals his power through the weakness of Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, Jonah, Paul and … YOU! If you are willing to surrender your pride and allow God to work through you — in spite of your inability, your fear, your weaknesses. So that ultimately — deliverance in the Exodus, the defeat of the Midianites, the power of the OT prophetic message, the salvation of the violent and sinful pagan city of Nineveh, the expansion and establishment of multiple new churches in Asia Minor and Greece — God will be glorified in what you do.
So what is it that is it there in front of you, intimidating you, seems to be too big or too scary for you to do for God? Can you pull a Moses, a Gideon, and trust God to display his strength in your weakness? Trust him and watch what happens!!