When a Strength Becomes a Weakness

It is paradoxical, as well as sad, that God’s servant will often fail in the very area in which he or she is normally strong. The Bible offers us several case studies of this strange fact. Let me share three of those examples with you.

I’ll start with Abraham. He was a man who exhibited enough faith to pack up his belongings, leave his hometown of Ur, and begin an epic journey to an unknown land which God promised to show him (Genesis 12:1-5). But what happened when he arrived in the promised land of Canaan? He was greeted there by a famine. So what did he do? He lost faith that God could provide for him during that famine and he went down to Egypt. There he showed his lack of faith in God’s protection by instructing his beautiful wife Sarai to lie and say that she was his sister (Genesis 12:10-20). And would you believe that he even repeated this exact same sin many years later when he was in Gerar and dealing with Abimelech, the king of Gerar (Genesis 20:1-18)? What happened to your great faith, Abraham?

Next, I’ll mention Moses. He was a very mild-mannered man who certainly didn’t have a problem with ego or bravado. As a matter of fact, we can read Exodus chapters 3 and 4 and see that it was all that God could do to get him to return to Egypt and lead Israel. Moses was quick to say, “Lord, who am I to be such a leader? I am not an eloquent man. Please, send whomever else you will.” Numbers 12:3 even says that Moses was more humble (meek, gentle, kind) than all men who were on the face of the earth. That’s an amazing statement! But how did Moses ultimately get himself into trouble and miss out on entering into the promised land of Canaan himself? In a fit of anger and rage, he rebuked the people and struck the rock twice when God had commanded him to merely speak to it. He also spoke as if he and Aaron, rather than God, caused the water to gush from the rock (Numbers 20:1-13). What happened to your great humility, Moses?

Lastly, I’ll mention Elijah. He showed astounding courage in going to Ahab, the king of Israel, and proclaiming, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). He showed just as much courage, if not more, in taking on and defeating Ahab’s prophets of Baal in a great showdown atop Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40). But what did he do right on the heels of that landmark victory? He heard that Ahab’s queen, Jezebel, had put a death sentence on his head and he fled. Then, when he reached a certain place out there in the wilderness, he prayed and asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:1-4). What happened to your great courage, Elijah?

If it sounds like I’m picking on Abraham, Moses, and Elijah, I’m not. The fact is, these are just three of a lengthy list of Bible characters who failed in the very areas in which they were normally strong. This should teach us that we ourselves aren’t immune to this particular problem. So, do you have an area in which you are especially strong in your walk with the Lord? If you do, be sure to keep yourself vigilant in that area. Don’t let yourself become overconfident to the point where you drop your guard. Remember, if it happened to the likes of Abraham, Moses, and Elijah, it can happen to you.

This entry was posted in Backsliding, Courage, Faith, Humility, Personal Holiness, Sin and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When a Strength Becomes a Weakness

  1. Norma Hall says:

    Thank you for your wise, insightful lesson in Christ-like humility and understanding.

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