Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Vessels of Honour - I

We have heard of or met at least one person whom no one expected to qualify for God's favour, talk less of receiving a divine assignment.
That one person could be ourselves , friends ,family or people in the news.
Some of such "unlikely choices" have been picked by God , not man ,to receive miracles and assignments through which God changed millions of lives and charted the course of human history.
All through the course of history , God has chosen and used prominent men and women and the not so prominent ones. He has chosen honourable and honest persons and even atheists and shady characters with "colourful" pasts.
He has used hardened sinners and those possessed by a multitude of evil spirits.
Does this contradict God's holy nature or his word?
God could choose the rich or poor ; saints or sinners to carry out his assignment because he is not influenced and limited by our human standards, politics and parameters for judging a person's suitability.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth , so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9.

The rich and famous are, usually, regarded as unwilling to submit to God; because where the treasures of the rich and famous are, there their hearts are.James 5:1-6.
It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich who trust in their riches to enter into the Kingdom of God.Luke 18 :18 27.
These Bible passages about the rich and powerful, have often been taken out of context and have been misunderstood and misused.
Many poor people have even consoled themselves with these Bible passages!
However, the Bible did not say that poverty and ignorance are entry qualifications to heaven.
Neither is diligence in the search of and acquisition of knowledge, wealth and power "sinful" nor is it a "No entry" tag, preventing a person's entry into eternal rest.
Power, wealth, riches and knowledge are blessings from God the creator and giver of all things.
When the ways and means of searching for and acquiring these blessings become distractions and hindrances to men's peaceful relationships with God and their fellow men ,then they become sins in people lives.
When our pursuits of blessings replace the pursuit of God, blessings become curses.
The power of God for changing human lives, for good, is ever-available.
God,the Master Potter, has chosen diverse kinds of men and women in the past and, even today,he is still choosing "rejected stones".He would choose them with all their inadequacies and frailties , wash them clean and recreate them.
What a person becomes after he has been called and changed by God is what matters ; not what that person was before God touched him.
To God be the glory that God , not any man, has the final say on who gets chosen and become remoulded from vessels of dishonour into Vessels of Honour, fit for God's purpose.

Every conversion from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God is a miracle.This miracle manifests fully in human lives when those lives,are willingly submitted and yielded to be used in the service of God.
Vessels of honour become enabled to enter into partnerships of righteousness with God; so that their lives count for God. They become God-conscious and determined to impact their world.
Many of such vessels of honour are mentioned in the Bible and some are recorded in recent human history.I will mention a few of these biblical characters here.
The first one is Pharaoh of Egypt;
i.e. the Pharaoh who knew Joseph.
Whenever I read the narration of Joseph's life, I am overwhelmed by the awesomeness and supremacy of God!
Pharaoh was an idol-worshipping ruler of Egypt which was a heathen but very powerful nation. Pharaoh and his people worshiped myriad gods. They knew not Jehovah or Yahweh the Hebrew God.
Yet, in the fullness of time, God orchestrated it so that this Pharaoh was used to deliver and promote Joseph beyond his wildest dreams.
In a land where Joseph was a slave and condemned to life imprisonment with hard labour , God used this Pharaoh to bless and sustain Jacob and his entire family. Being the descendants of Abraham, God's friend and confidante, God knew that it was from this family that the whole earth will be blessed.
Jesus Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Judah was Jacob's son.

Then , the Pharaoh who did not know Joseph came on the scene.
God touched the hearts of the Egyptian midwives to save the Hebrew male babies.
God planned it so that Pharaoh's daughter and not just any other Egyptian woman, came for a swim , in the River Nile: just at the right moment!
God touched her heart so that when she saw the baby Moses, she didn't hand him over to the executioner of all male Hebrew babies as decreed by Pharaoh.
She adopted Moses as her son .God used this Pharaoh's daughter to nurture and bring up a Prince to be a leader, not in Egypt as his adopted mother had hoped.
But to deliver God's people. The rest is history.

God chose a prostitute , a citizen of Jericho, called Rahab to assist the armies of Israel to gain access into the mighty and impenetrable fortress of Jericho.
Joshua 2:1-24
Rahab could have chosen to be patriotic, raised an alarm and expose the intentions of the spies who sought refuge with her. But not to be . The God of Isreal touched her heart and she made a decision to crossover to the side of God.
Maybe her decision was further aided by her seeking sweet revenge against her compatriots for the way they had treated her!
In any community , whores are regarded as social misfits and objects of ridicule. Many people think that murderers,thieves and whores top the list of "terrible sinners" with the hottest section of Hell,specially prepared for them!
The Bible does not mention that Hell has different unequal sections.
The "honest" women of Jericho must have laughed at Rahab, gossiped about her and felt very "superior" to her. Some of them could have called her names and even spat at her when they passed her in the streets.
The men of Jericho "knew" Rahab, definitely.
But typically, in public, these men would have pretended not to see her, at all, or to know her from Eve! Especially when their wives were present.
Nobody in Jericho could ever have imagined that Rahab the notorious whore, of all women , and her family, of all people, would be the ones chosen by the Mighty God of Israel as the only survivors of the annihilation of Jericho by the hosts of Isreal!
Rahab had the last laugh because she became a vessel of honour. Joshua 6:16,17,25.

King Ahasuerus was the heathen King who ruled over one hundred and twenty seven provinces of Persia and Media during the captivity of Israel and Judah.
As recorded in the book of Esther, God chose this king to be Esther's husband .
Esther could have bolted, gone into hiding and refused to marry a very old man ; old enough to be her great grandfather.
The king could have picked any of the hundreds of gorgeous girls presented to him. But God touched both hearts ; he chose Esther and she consented to be his queen.
God made this union possible for the main purpose of using this king to deliver millions of Jews from the genocide planned against them by Haman. Esther 4:10-17.
Other heathen kings used by God were Cyrus,King of Babylon and Darius,the Persian king. Both of them were used by God to show favour to his people in captivity .
To rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to restore the vessels of gold, silver and bronze which were plundered by their nations from the palaces and the Temple in Jerusalem .
God chose these kings to show favour to the Jews by issuing decrees of restoration of Israel and sending men like Ezra and Nehemiah with money and materials to rebuild the temple and walls of Jerusalem.
God "remoulded" Nebuchadnezzar ,king of Babylon , to declare the supremacy of God and to institute the worship of the God of heaven and earth in a heathen land
Daniel 4 : 28-37.
Do you know or have you heard of "kings ,queens , paupers and sinners" who have taken on the image of Christ ? Former leaders and followers of the religions of science and technology, of commerce , hedonism and of other faiths who were aliens to God but have been transformed into God's marvelous light? 1 Peter 2: 9 ,10
Let us give thanks to God , always, for them and for ourselves for the miracle of God in our lives which has transformed us to become recipients of his mercy and salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ.

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