As you encounter the list of 6 names in Hebrews 11:32, you should be surprised. The list is made of up of some of the worst kinds of people. These aren’t people who struggled with overeating once and a while. These aren’t people who raised their voice at their kids too much. In fact, if sinning was like the game of baseball, these people were the home run kings. Just want you note that because it should serve as a great encouragement to you. If you are trying to live a life for God, and your concerned that you will never be able to get it all together in order for God to really use you, don’t worry. Just look at the kinds of people God used. Here they are – warts and all.
We start with Gideon. In Judges 6 Gideon is supposed to go to war against an invading army, yet he is so scared he is hiding out while he threshes wheat. Most people have never heard of Barak – other than he won a great military victory – but Barak didn’t get the glory of defeating the commander Sisera – Deborah did that. And so Barak remains overshadowed by a woman in Judges 4, where his story is found. Speaking of women – the next character to appear is Samson. Samson is really just a playboy. Samson loves the ladies (and not the nice ones either). If only he had just dated someone from the youth group he might have been okay, but he ends up in the lap of Delilah, spilling his guts about the secret of his strength
What about Jephthah? Most people don’t know about Jephthah, but he was a judge in OT Israel. In Judges 11 Jephthah is introduced. Jephthah was illegitimate – born through the union of his father with a prostitute. Then, because of his background, he is kicked out of his family. Homeless and alone, Jephthah joins a gang in the land of Tob and makes a name for himself. When his family is in trouble, they come looking for his skills to help defend them. He agrees, but during the ensuing battle Jephthah makes a rash vow and his daughter ends up being murdered as a result. Jephthah is a man with a sketchy past and mouth that gets him into trouble. And you wondered if God could ever use you?
Whose next – David? Great leader, but don’t forget he’s a murderer and adulterer. As I look down through the list, I find that Samuel is about the only one who appears on the list about whom very few bad things are ever recorded. Oh, wait. In 1 Sam. 8:3 we learn that Samuel made his sons judges in Israel. And his sons were corrupt. Nobody likes a corrupt government official, even if their father is a good guy. Samuel’s kids were greedy, dishonest leeches on the public purse. Kind of puts Samuel in a bad light!
So here’s the tremendous encouragement to you. Yes you are a sinner, yes, you have failed God. But that doesn’t mean you can’t live by faith and walk by faith. It’s not as though we’re surrounded by a group of people who lived without problems, without trials and stresses, without sin! So, look to their example and ask; God, help me to live by faith despite my sin!