Chapter 3 "A Rogue Story"
Hero’s, Villain’s, or Both?
As you take a look at some of these random characters, notice that there is a plot that has been designed by God and that each story has one or sometimes all of the characteristics and roll’s that play out in the story of God, some stories have characters that played multiple roles. Most had both Hero and Villain characteristics while a few had just one, or the other. They all were randomly chosen for the purpose of showing that all of their lives and stories demonstrate that God see’s the big picture, He knows the plot from beginning to end and that in most cases there is a plan being worked out in their story that encourages us in our walk with God or illustrates the consequences of not following Him as was the case with Saul. Suffice it to say, everything is being played our to an expected end and for the pleasure of our Creator.
King Saul - Bad Apple, Nemesis, unknowingly fosters a Noble hero and a giant killer.
The very first king of Israel, a head taller than any of his contemporaries, the predecessor, mentor and nemesis of King David, the father of Jonathan. His son, Jonathan, was a noble hero, but Saul was not.
Saul started off okay, but his relationship with God was so thin that God didn’t have any room to work with him and so he kind of let himself go and went downhill fast. He was the fraidy-cat of the Philistines, Goliath in particular, and became a deranged mad man who slaughtered God’s priests. He attempted to kill his own son twice, and hounded his best follower, David, for years until Saul finally met his death after consulting with a witch because he was so out of touch with God.
Read about him in 1 Samuel 8-31. It is one of the richest portions of the Bible in terms of story, character and lessons for real life.
Job - A Story about When you’ve been good but now you have it bad!
Job is the original good guy in the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Job was about as close to perfect as you could get and still be human. He loved God. He loved people. He used his great wealth and wisdom to help people. Then disaster struck. His wealth, his ten children and his health were all taken away. Left with nothing but suffering, his friends come to comfort him. But, instead of encouraging him, they start accusing him, and add insult to injury. Finally, he has a “face-to-face” meeting with God. God answers with a set of unexpected questions of His own. Job’s story is told in the Biblical book bearing his name.
Abel - and His Brother and Murderer Cain. A Story of Sibling Rivalry
Abel found favor with God and Cain did not. Read about it in the book of Genesis. Abel is listed as a hero of the faith here. first child born to the human race,
Cain, grows up to become a murderer, killing his own brother in a fit of jealousy. Made bad decisions and even worse sacrifices.
I am drawn to this story because it Correlates well with my own failure in that if I believe that my works, sacrifice, and self-righteousness are sufficient offerings to the Lord that it will ultimately be my demise. Only the Lamb of God should ever be my offering.
Samuel - A Story of What God does when we give everything to Him.
The great prophet, son of Hannah, the childless woman who prayed for a son and promised to give that child to God. She did after he was weaned; she dropped him off at the temple where Eli the priest and his evil sons were the religious leaders of the day. Samuel was still a boy when God started talking to him. Eli and his sons were killed, but Samuel grew up to be the leader of Israel, and the one who selected both Saul and David to become Israel’s future kings. Samuel’s story is told in 1 Samuel and he was a guy who often performed the hard tasks that Saul was not able to perform. For instance He hewed Ahaz, an enemy king, into a 1000 pieces. He was able to do this because He frequented the Altar of the Lord in Gilgal.
He appointed his sons to judge over Israel but they were deemed unfit and God Appointed a King. Sammy didn’t make an issue of it, I think he just had a fleeting moment where his radio got all staticy! The main theme throughout Samuel’s life is that God alone should receive the glory and honor. Read about him In 1 Samuel.
Esther - From Harem to Queen and saving a Nation.
A number of women come to mind as important Bible personalities including Eve, Mary, Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Miriam, Mary Magdelene, Deborah, Ruth and so on. But Esther stands alone in the category of saving an entire nation by her courage. Chosen to join the harem of Persian King Xerxes, she rises to the position of queen in time to uncover a plot to destroy the Jewish people. She might have the power and influence to stop the plot, but only if she risks her own life to do so. The book that bears her name is unique in that God is not mentioned once in the book, but His fingerprints are all over the events.
Although God is never mentioned in the book of Esther we can see His acts in the background. Nothing gets past God! His timing is always best but we need to wait for Him before we act and realize that it’s dangerous to jump out before it’s time Your background does not hinder your future with God. Esther was an orphan. God still exalted her and used her. Some of Jesus’s disciples where fishermen, tax collectors, and one was a Doctor. Your background does not determine what God can do with you but your simple faith does! A powerful story!
Samson - Buff guy with a thing for bad girls. Ends up blind guy with bad haircut but finishes well!
This guy very well may have been bipolar! He could go from Hero to Villain in 3 seconds flat. Famous for his great strength, he was an individual fighter rather than a leader of men. Dedicated at birth as a Nazirite, he never had his hair cut. He believed this was the reason for his prowess in harassing his enemies, particularly the Philistines.
Not good at interpersonal relationships, he picked the wrong women and had a propensity for making many enemies. This long-haired strong man once picked up the jaw bone of a donkey and killed a thousand Philistine soldiers on the battlefield. He is still the UFC Belt holder of all time in my book! If Samson were alive today, he would probably spend some of his life in jail–let’s just say he was no choir boy. But he had a job to do, and he did it well, that is until his woman friend, Delilah gave him a bad hair-cut and sold him out to the Philistines for 140 pounds of silver. Now Samson wasn’t opposed to getting back in the ring even though the Philistines had blinded him and put him in prison. He had one last appearance on stage where he finally retrieved his honor, and got back his belt, by killing thousands of Philistines before the curtain fell. Samson’s story is told in Judges 13-16. He was both a Hero and a Villain in the plot and his story warrants exploration and comparison of our own!
Keep your vows and stay away from bad girls. When you feel like you are blind to what God is doing in your story, realize that even though you are a pinhead, God is not finished with you yet!
Jonah - God can use a person even though there is something fishy about them!
Famous for being swallowed by a “great fish,” he had a knack for going the wrong direction. Ring any bells? Ever felt like you’ve thrown overboard? Jonah’s real contribution is presiding over the greatest mass conversion of all time meanwhile learning a few things about human prejudice, what complaining gets you, how storms in life can move you, and how God’s love is at work in you at the same time.
Elijah - Prophet, Part Rain Man, Part Trash Talker and Disposer of False Prophets. Good with fire too!
The great prophet who stared down an entire nation and didn’t blink. After King David, Israel split into two nations. The northern kingdom went from bad to worse until they were ruled by a truly depraved couple, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Elijah walks onto the scene and announces that rain won’t fall without his own personal okay. Then he disappears. For the next three years a bone-dry nation searches for Elijah, but he’s nowhere to be found, until one day he shows up again and offers a showdown on Mount Carmel: your god vs. my God. Elijah was a Prophet on Steroids. His successor Elisha was noted for receiving a double portion of the Elijah stuff and didn’t like having his bald head made fun of! Elijah got a little whiny at the Brook of Cherith when it ran dry and briefly thought God’s provision was for the birds!
Peter - A smart fisherman with a propensity to cause trouble! Freaks out around Little Girls!
Originally known as Simon, his name was changed to Peter by Jesus, and he became a leader of the early church. Hanging out with Jesus will make a smart man out of anyone! Peter had listened to, eaten with, and traveled alongside Jesus for three years. The result was obvious. He was also noted as being impetuous, bull headed, a fisherman, a sword wielding ear lopper, and I’m afraid little girls around burn barrels put him right into a state of denial. Still He stuck with Jesus and that is important because as we spend time hanging out with with Jesus, we will take on His characteristics just as noticeably, as readily, as wonderfully as did the fisherman-turned-scholar: the apostle Peter.
John the Apostle - Can’t you hear that Thunder?
Among Jesus’ twelve disciples, Peter, James and John formed an inner circle. Out of them, John appeared to be Jesus’ closest friend here on earth. He wrote one of the Gospels, three important letters (which are recorded in the Bible) and the powerful book of Revelation. John mentioned himself as the one Jesus loved.
John was initially a walking powder keg whom Jesus called a “son of thunder” (Mark 3:17). John was upset because someone outside the circle of disciples was using the name of Jesus to see people released from demons. “We told him to stop because he’s not part of our denomination,” he said. “He doesn’t share our doctrinal understandings. He’s not one of us.” We do this as well. People can be saved, blessed, helped, and strengthened—but because we might not have doctrinal agreement, we put them down. Because they might worship differently from us, we find fault. Such is not the way of love.
John went through an incredible transformation himself. You see, John is known as the “apostle of love” because more than anyone else in Scripture, John both preaches and personifies love. Another result of being impacted by the work of Jesus.
Paul - Once a poacher of Christians, Goes to work for The Save the Christian’s Foundation!
He was originally Saul (not the king, but the persecutor of Christians who lived a thousand years later). This guy started out as a orange vested, one-man, hunting machine, with a no bag limit tag fresh out of a Sportsman's Warehouse. He became Paul the Apostle after having a powerful encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. First Barnabas, and then Silas were his ministry partners. Most of the books of the New Testament were written by Paul who became a powerhouse leader in the early church. go figure! He is responsible for much of our understanding of Christianity. Paul first bridged the gap between Jews and Gentiles by demonstrating that the way of Jesus was open to anyone, regardless of ancestry. Such a stark contrast in his story! There is hope for you and me!
David - Shepherd, Giant Killer, Worship leader, Womanizer, Murderer, King, Huh?
Best known for facing the giant Goliath and beating him with a sling and a stone, David was the most famous king of Israel, one of the greatest men who ever lived. Author of most of the Psalms, his story is told in 1 & 2 Samuel. He was a shepherd, a worshiper, He had a heart after God and sadly, he is also often remembered for his greatest failure, his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, who later became the mother of wise and wealthy King Solomon. There is much we can relate to in the life of David.
Abraham - Father of many generations, Simple faith, accounted unto Righteousness! Gets ahead of things!
The father of faith and ancestor of nations. In reality, If it were not for some of his major mistakes, Israel would have deign in a great famine! God made His promise to make Abraham the Father of many generations while Abe was still worshiping idols like a Moon goddess. He had a propensity for taking things into his own hands and got ahead of things with his handmaiden because he and Sarah thought that they were too old to cut the mustard! His son Isaac was born to him at age 100 when his wife, Sarah, was 90. Isaac became the father of Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and his descendants became the nation of Israel. One of Jacob’s sons was Joseph (not the husband of Mary mother of Jesus) who was sold into slavery by his brothers, but, in a great turn of events, he was delivered to Egypt by Ishmaelite's or the direct descendants of Ishmael. (Ishmael was the byproduct of Abraham's sexual relations with Hagar who was Sarah’s handmaiden). Joseph ended up becoming second-in-command in Egypt, and in that position he saved his family, providing food for them during a terrible famine. Abraham trusted God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness!
Jabez - The Lord hears you!
Jabez is only mentioned in a few verses of scripture and is known for his famous “Prayer of Jabez” mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:10: Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.
It is a simple prayer prayed in faith and serves as a powerful example of answered prayer and receiving blessing from the Lord.
The Thief - On the Cross, Saved by the Bell!
We do not know much more about the thief on the cross other than he was: A criminal, crucified next to Jesus, and brought into paradise at his death. His powerful story is told in Luke 23:32-43, that describes the conversation between Christ and the two criminals crucified alongside of him.
The first criminal mentioned mocked Christ, “Save yourself and us!” (23:29). The other criminal, of whom we are writing, defended Jesus in a humble manner, acknowledging the justice of God and the innocence of Christ. His response to the mocker was, Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Then in verses 40-41 he pleaded with Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This desperate and humble cry for mercy is all that God needed to welcome him into the family of God. Jesus answered, vs 43. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
What an incredible story! A man who presumably led his entire life in opposition to God, by the great mercies of God, was able to be saved in his dying moments. This demonstrates that a humble heart that cries out to God for salvation will be heard!
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Ehud - An uncouth lefty Gets used by God!
The story of Ehud comes right out of Judges 3, but would fit in nicely into the plot of a James Bond movie.
Israel was under the oppressive rule of Eglon the king of Moab so they cried out to the Lord for deliverance. The Moabites were idol worshipers who did evil in the sight of the Lord. God sent Ehud a left handed man who would have been considered unfit along with his cubit-long (about a foot and a half) sword to assassinate the king and liberate God’s people from his rule.
Ehud must have been a smooth talker, because when he told the servants of the king that he had a “secret message” for him (Judges 3:19), they left Ehud all alone with the king who was built like Jabba the Hutt. Ehud’s “secret message” was the sword that he brought and a stab to the belly Eglon as he was sitting on the pot, which killed him!
Then Ehud quietly locked the doors to the roof to keep the guards out and made a quick getaway. When Ehud returned to the people of Israel, he led Israel in conquering their enemies the Moabites.
It is a great picture and story of how when the Word of God (the Sword) is thrust to the core of our lives, how that the Dirt comes out!
Jesus - Author, Savior, Super Hero, and oh let’s not forget God!
The whole Bible is centered around Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, Savior, the God Man, the solution to the problems caused by our own waywardness and the only Way to living a great Story! Jesus is the center of it all! If you place Him as Lord of all in your life, you will be able to see your story through the lens of The Creator of the Universe, Author and Finisher of our Faith!