By Jerry Curry
God’s people have always been called upon to take action. As Joshua made his farewell speech he exhorted Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Haggai exhorted Israel, “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house” (Haggai 1:8). Jesus, our ultimate example of a servant, says, “My meat is to do the will of Him Who sent Me” (John 4:34). Many times we are hesitant to accept difficult challenges, consequently, opportunities to render great service to God are lost. God has not always looked to great people to serve in great ways. Be encouraged to accept great challenges as we notice how God has used ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Moses was asked by God to appear before Pharaoh and demand that he let the people of God leave Egypt. As Moses contemplated this extraordinary challenge he demonstrated his ordinary character as he made the following excuses: “Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh? What shall I say unto them? But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice. I am not eloquent” (Exodus 3:4). Moses was able to rise above some ordinary traits and successfully meet the extraordinary challenges of confronting Pharaoh, leading Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness for forty years.
God spoke to Joshua and said, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them” (Joshua 1:2). After wandering with the murmuring nation of Israel for forty years, Joshua is given the extraordinary challenge of leading Israel into the Jordan and across to the Promised Land. Following Israel’s defeat by Ai, Joshua demonstrated an ordinary lack of trust as he stated, “O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?” (Joshua 7:7). God calms the ordinary fear of Joshua by saying, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed; take all the people of war with thee, and arise and go up to Ai; see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai” (Joshua 8:1).
David demonstrated an extraordinary faith as he went out to the battlefield and defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and small stones (see I Samuel 17:17-51). He is paid the extraordinary compliment in Acts 13:22 where God says of David, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own
heart.” Yet, what painfully ordinary traits were exhibited as he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in the heat of battle. Please take time to read II Samuel 11:1-17.
We could write further of 1) Esther, though afraid of death, appeared before the king to ask that Israel be spared (Esther 4:16). 2) Abraham, who left his homeland and later raised the knife to offer his son upon the altar, yet earlier lies about Sarah as he feared for his life (Hebrews 11:8, 17-19;Genesis 20:9-13). Or 3) Peter, who walked on water and was with the Lord at Gethsemane, yet later cursed and denied Christ (Matthew 14:27-31; 26:69-75). May we be encouraged to accept great challenges as ordinary people striving to do extraordinary things.