Have you ever noticed that? Go ahead and pick one, a biblical character that we tend to treat as saintly, and without fail you can also find an example of their failings. Let’s do a few for an exercise:
He was a man after God’s own heart, a great songwriter, and the greatest king over Israel. He was a faithful friend, a tremendous leader, and not bad with a slingshot. He was also a bad father, an adulterer, and a murderer.
Scripture calls him the humblest man who ever lived. He talked with God face to face as a man talks to a man, and he stood in the face of the most powerful man on the planet and boldly proclaimed the word of the Lord. He also killed a man and was prevented from entering the promised land due to his brashness and lack of faith.
He was the father of God’s chosen people, and even when the New Testament was written he was held up as a model of faith. He did not withhold his only son from the Lord. But he also believed in God so little that he passed his wife off as his sister for fear of being killed by the Egyptians.
Not poor Ruth – she was a hero. All she ever did was stick by her mother-in-law through thick and thin and eventually became the ancestor of Christ through her marriage to Boaz. There is the little problem, however, that many scholars believe the reference in Ruth 3:4 to “uncovering his feet” is sexual in nature.
The list goes on. Peter denied Christ. Samson had little faith at all. Gideon was a coward. We can only conclude that the Bible is very concerned that we understand the greatness, and the failures, of its characters. Why is that?
For my part, I believe it’s meant to accentuate the greatness of God and give us hope for the future. The sheer “ordinariness” of these men and women serves to remind us that God is the hero of the Bible. It is He working through the ordinariness of people that leads to greatness. That encourages me this morning, to know that my ordinariness isn’t a limitation, but a chance for God to be made great in me.