The idea for my book, Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys, started with my study of the life of King Saul. I could see several of my faults in his life, particularly as I read about his unwillingness to wait for Samuel at a critical time during his reign.
From this wayward king, I discovered a strategy for waiting amidst the faulty reasons he gave to Samuel for his disobedience. If we can avoid the places where his thinking went awry, it helps us wait for whatever we hope will happen soon, but doesn’t. We have all been there.
I believe if there is one shared experience among followers of Christ, it is that of waiting. He often makes us wait for:
The right person to come along to marry
The job we desire
The money to pay all our bills
Healing to get over the flu or a sinus infection
His intervention in a crisis we face
A slow driver to finally get out of the passing lane (perhaps of lesser importance)
I am sure you can add several other things to the above list. In an era where answers come so quickly via our computers and smartphones, it’s especially difficult when God does not immediately remedy our dilemmas.
So, what do we do when the Lord makes us wait, particularly in painful situations?
In my book, I provide 4 strategies for waiting that helped me immensely during my lengthy time of waiting years ago. I could develop each tactic here, but that would make this post far too long.
So, the best way to communicate them to you is through my book, through an invitation to speak, or both.
Several years ago, I discovered I could learn a lot from some of the shadier characters of the Bible. It was not that their examples were so stellar, most failed miserably. However, I have gleaned much from their bad examples over the years.
You may be wondering what in the world we can learn from such misfits and failures. How can they possibly help us in our walk with the Lord?
I’m glad you asked. To help you answer this question, I have picked a few of the characters as examples of what we might possibly learn.
1. King Saul – I learned the most from King Saul. His reasoning (AKA excuses) in 1 Samuel 13 for disobeying God gives us several clues as to where his thinking went awry. After looking at several of his excuses we see that in the end he trusted the sacrifice rather than God Himself.
How do we avoid the trap of elevating our religious behavior above our trust in God? It’s not easy especially when God makes us wait and wait and wait. Yes, I have certainly been there! King Saul helps us formulate a strategy for waiting, especially when we find ourselves in tough spots.
2. Esau – Esau sold his most prized possession for a bowl of soup. What was he thinking? Trading in a birthright for stew likely seems quite foreign to most of us, however, it’s easy to copy Esau’s approach to life in other ways. How do we avoid Esau’s egregious shortsightedness? Is there a way to avoid the urgency of the moment?
What about eternity?
3. Absalom – This guy must have been extraordinarily handsome for the Bible to make such a big deal of his appearance. Unfortunately, his anger left him hanging in the end, so to speak.
What caused the intense resentment that led to Absalom’s downfall? How does the Gospel help us deal with such growing bitterness, the type that eventually destroyed Absalom?
4. Joab – Joab is the most celebrated military general in the Old Testament. Yet, he possessed a character flaw: he was a cold-blooded killer. Okay, you are right, it was much more serious than a flaw in his personality.
I doubt anyone reading my book is likely to stick a sword into someone’s belly, but at times we all feel the frustration of dealing with someone who gets in the way of something we very much desire. A careful look at Joab helps us apply the message of James 4:1-4 to our lives. We do not have to kill someone to follow the errant path of Joab. We can cause serious harm to those around us in other ways.
That is why the lessons we learn from Joab are so important!
5. John Mark – This guy shows us failure does not have to be the last chapter in our lives (although it is the last chapter in my book). How does the story of John Mark encourage us to persevere even when we think we have blown it, failed, run our life into the ditch? Okay, I think you get the point. John Mark shows the mercy of God in giving us multiple second chances.
If you are willing to travel down some of the back roads of Scripture and dive into the lives of some of its more shady characters, my book Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys is available on Amazon.com.