Ruth was a Moabitess. Rahab was a pagan prostitute. Solomon was a product of a questionable union. Peter, a fisherman. Paul, a persecutor of Christians and a Gentile. David was a castaway. Gideon a coward.
The Bible is replete with accounts of many people used by God whose backgrounds were not stellar.
I came across the story of Jephthah in Judges 11:1-8 that got me musing on the kind of people God uses. The chapter opens as follows: “Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.” His father had other sons by His wife and when they grew up, the legitimate sons drove Jephthah away from home saying ““You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” … “because you are the son of another woman.”” So Jephthah settled in the mountains of Tob where a “gang of scoundrels” gathered around him and followed him.
The story goes that after sometime the Amonnites attacked Israel and the elders of Gilead who did nothing as Jephthah was thrown out of his home turned to this same Jephthah and asked him to lead them into battle against the king of Ammon. He eventually agreed to be their commander and to lead them to fight.
In verse 29 we are told “then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah…” and he led the army to deliver a crushing defeat to the Ammonites. Jephthah then became a judge of Israel. His story does not end there for he receives an honorable mention in Hebrews 11 as one of the fathers of faith.
In God’s eyes our roots, our backgrounds do not really matter. Where and how we are born, who our parents are, what we have done, where we have been do not really matter. Once we have trusted God through Jesus Christ, we are His children (1 John 1:12).
God has a habit of choosing the most unqualified people to do His work and to accomplish His purposes.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 puts it so eloquently: “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,…”
Do not let your background, your past actions, lack of education, inarticulate speech, and such limit you. God can do wonders with anyone who comes to Him in faith.
Love, Lady Monica