When you think of great characters in the Bible, who do you think of?
For me, I think of Abraham, who was the father of Israel. I think of Gideon, who led a few to conquer the many. I think of David, who pleased the heart of God. I think of Peter who was the rock of the New Testament church. I’m sure that many would have their own suggestions and their own reasons for selecting certain Bible characters.
The reason I ask is because as I reflected on these men to be like, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in the way I thought of them: That while they had done great things indeed, I had neglected their failures under the aegis of their success.
Did I forget that Abraham lied to the Pharoah about Sarah? Or that Gideon, at the end of his life, made a shrine and caused his family to worship it? Or that David killed his general in order to hide his affair with his wife? Or Peter who denied Jesus three times?
Why are these things not mentioned in the conversation when we think of these people? As I now remember the same phenomenon occurring in modern obituaries, I am struck with this question: from where do we get the propensity to hide the failures of people and to sum up their life and designating them under the category of “great”?
Do we not see that they all have skeletons in the closet? And blunders which are outrageous even to us?
It is at this juncture that I am reminded that the stumblings of every protagonist of the Bible (and Christendom, at that) is a testament to the fact that the existence of the people of God is not because it rested on men who were great, but on a God who was great.
I believe Paul said it best when he confessed that, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”