Dr. Clyde M. DeLoach
One of the reasons that I love the Old Testament is because the stories do not hide the flaws of the people. David was a man after God’s own heart, but we still have the story of David and Bathsheba. Jacob was the father of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Still, we have the story that tells how Jacob stole the blessing meant for his brother, Esau, and Jacob is described as a trickster. And what about Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel? He pretended that Sarah was his sister and exposed her to danger to protect himself. The point is that God often uses people who are flawed because there really are no other kinds of people to be found. We are all sinners.
Of course, there are other lessons that we can learn from the sinfulness of these great leaders. It means that God might actually use me for something great despite my failings. It means that I can never use my sins as an excuse not to follow the call of God. If God wants to use me, a sinner, then I have no right to refuse.
Let me offer another way we can use these sinful leaders as a beacon of light. What did they have in common besides their sins? They also repented of their sins. They recognized their sins and repented. Who can forget the great story of Nathan confronting David and David’s repentance (2 Samuel 12)?
So, are there ways that we can learn from these people even today? Certainly, we need to answer the call of God despite our sins. Certainly, we should repent of our sins. But what about us as a country? Is there a lesson for America in here?
I think there is. I love America and I think it is the greatest country in the world. Does that mean that America has never slipped and failed to live up to the best of its principles? I don’t think so. We have made mistakes and we have not always been the America that we love so much.
What, then, can we do about those times we have failed as a nation? I think the lesson is clear. We must confront our sins, repent of them, and go on to be the great nation we are called to be. Some would have us ignore or whitewash our failings. I do not think that is biblical and I do not think it is healthy. Just as I am a better person when I face up to my sins and resolve to live a better life, so should America face up to its sins and resolve to be the country we want it to be.