Availability vs. Ability
Have you ever felt God asking you to do something for which you know you’re not talented or maybe not qualified? No doubt Esther felt this way when Mordecai instructed her to speak to the king about saving her kinsman. Esther’s obvious gift was in her beauty, her speaking of political matters with the king was never a thought. In fact she hadn’t even had an audience with him in a month, and then only at his request. A person could be sentenced to death for approaching the king without his summons.
Esther’s asking the king to save the Jewish people must have seemed ludicrous. There must have been a mistake in translating Mordecai’s message or in Mordecai’s understanding of God’s will. But Mordecai was right, if Esther didn’t act, God’s purposes would somehow have been accomplished, but God was asking her. Esther’s beauty granted her the opportunity to be used by God, but she couldn’t do what He asked on her own ability.
She finally resolved to take the risks, but because it was so risky, she intently sought God’s hand in the matter by fasting and praying for three days. Her perceived inability led her to seek God and then step out on faith in His ability.
I got to thinking about other people in the Bible who were chosen despite their inability — maybe even because of it. Moses had a type of speech impediment, but God chose him to be His spokesperson to the Israelites. Gideon was the weakest in his clan, which was the weakest clan in his whole tribe, yet God chose him to lead an army to victory. Like Esther, these two didn’t want the jobs God offered them. They had their reasons, which they clearly explained to God, including their weaknesses and inability to do the jobs. But in the end they both agreed to do what God asked. They were available despite their inability.
Why didn’t God just choose an inspired speaker to lead the Israelites, and a mighty warrior to lead the army? I believe they were chosen because of their inability and because of their faith in God to do what He said He would.
Numbers 12:3 tells us, “Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” A humble person can be trusted to go where he’s led and say what he’s told, and not try to take matters into his own hands or think that he has a better plan. He’s perfect for the job of prophet and mediator. Sure enough, each time he was faced with an obstacle, he fell on his face before God and asked for direction. That’s someone God can really use.
In Gideon’s case, not only did God choose the weakest man among them, but he deliberately sent them into battle outmanned. In Judges 7:2-3, God explains His decision,
“In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.”
Eventually, God diminished the troops to 300 men. These 300 conquered tens of thousands of professional warriors because they had faith in God and followed His instruction. It was obvious to everyone – Israelites and their enemies alike — that God’s power was the reason they were victorious. A trained general might have made his own plan, chosen his own men and not been completely dependent on God for direction, as Gideon was.
The moral of all the stories is summed up in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
“But He told me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is brought to perfection in weakness.’ Therefore, I am very happy to boast about my weaknesses, in order that the Messiah’s power will rest upon me. Yes, I am well pleased with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties endured on behalf of the Messiah; for it is when I am weak that I am strong.”
It doesn’t take ability, it takes our availability to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our perceived inability used by God will accomplish His purposes.