There Are No Heroes in the Bible

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:

– David
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.

– Moses
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.

– Abraham
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.

– Ruth
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.

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  • P Duncan says:

    Great, now I have “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias stuck in my head. You now owe me SATCO.

  • Dani says:

    Nice message… thank you!

  • Megs says:

    Just . . . thank you. 🙂

  • Andy says:


  • michaelscottkelley says:

    Joseph… good one…

    I’ll go with this – Joseph is sitting in jail. He has been given the dream to indicate God’s favor. God has proven himself again and again. Yet Joseph takes it on himself to beg the cupbearer to remember him. Joseph displayed a lack of faith in trusting the cupbearer, rather than God, as his ticket out.

    Admittedly, a little weaker than the others.

  • Daryl says:

    Joseph…I think we can do better than trusting the cupbearer. This is the guy who flaunted before his brothers the fact that his father loved him more than the rest of them. The guy who could not find within himself the tact to not tell his brothers that he saw all of them bowing before him in a dream. He seems to have been a pretty arrogant, full-of-himself, self-righteous, spoiled brat before the whole being sold into slavery by your own flesh-and-blood thing knocked some sense into him.

    Oh, and he didn’t exactly welcome his family with open arms when he was second in command over all Egypt – a little payback by keeping the family in suspense until they brought Benjamin to him is a little less than what we would call Christlike.

    Personal opinion, of course.

    I do offer two of my own options: Enoch and Melchizedek. Avoiding death and being the namesake for Christ’s priestly order have to be good marks. Though the sheer lack of material on them might knock them out of the running.

  • Andy says:

    Fine. I disagree with both of your dissents on Big Joe. But for the sake of argument, how about Daniel? What say you now about him?

  • michaelscottkelley says:

    I think you got me with Daniel – the only thing I can accuse him of is prophesying some weird, wild stuff. Weird and wild.

  • Thomas H says:

    One big problem that most don’t mention regarding Joseph was his introduction of socialism in Egypt. Instead of giving people back the grains they had gathered they had to buy it back. Causing Pharaoh to eventually posses all the labour and the land. Introducing state slavery which opened the door for Israel to be enslaved. Joseph messed up the plan God gave him by becoming power hungry.

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