What are we to make of someone who had been and even currently is mightily used by the LORD to bring blessing to God’s people, but whose personal life is an ungodly, unseemly mess of broken relationships, strife and enmity? Is it even possible?
It is a tragic scenario, but is certainly a possibility according to scripture.
Sampson, for example was mightily used of the LORD for years, delivering Israel from the Philistine menace, but in the end He was almost killed visiting a prostitute and eventually tricked into breaking faith with the God of his vows, and blinded and humiliated by the enemy.
There had been a thousand miniature compromises leading up to the ultimate sell-out and breach of faith with the God who had empowered him, time and again. He had lacked self control, particularly with women, but when he was aroused out of his slumber, the power was always there, to allow him to super-naturally execute the deliverance of Israel.
Thus Sampson had failed to heed the warnings, or had read into them the wrong lessons. For a long time he had the gift, but had been drifting from the source of his power, his dedication to God. But the gift still functioned.
Moses is another example of this phenomenon. He had been used mightily, like no one ever before or since, to lead God’s people to the promised land. The LORD had given him amazing gifts, and affirmed him with mighty works of power before the people.
But when he ran out of patience with the ever murmuring people, in yet another instance of them running out of water, growing restive and even menacing He and Aaron, God gave Moses clear instruction to assemble the people and to speak to the Rock, that He might give them water.
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.( Numbers 20:11-13)
Had Moses done the right thing? Humanly speaking he must have, because “the Gift” of Miracles still functioned to the benefit of God’s people! But we all know that though God’s gift operated that day, and God’s people were saved, again, Moses failed to sanctify God that day and it cost him personally.
Moses’ temper cost him, but God still use him for his own people. God is good, and does that. The gifts of God are without repentance.
There are teachers, preachers and discernment ministries who hav been powerfully given insights and boldness and have edified and even delivered God’s remnant from false teaching, false revival and a false spirit, by their exposition of the WORD.
But if these gifted ones, become harsh, and embittered, and throw out temperance, meekness and Love, can they still be used in spite of themselves?
I have no doubt they can, because the LORD will bless his people, even by imperfect and defective vessels. It is they themselves who will ultimately suffer, personally, as well as those who surround them and who work with them trying to clean up after them, and to maintain a sense of loyalty to them for the sake of what was, or for the gift’s sake.
In the worst case scenario, these formerly powerful ministers can become “the OX that Gores“, Lying about and attacking those who they perceive as rivals, rending innocent people, accusing them falsely and orchestrating witch hunts based upon loose association, or even going so far as bearing false witness and lying about former friends in ministry.
I get why there will alway be a faithful remnant, loyal to these once mightily used ministries, even long after they go the way of Saul, throwing Javelins and jealously attacking so called rivals. Appreciation is an admirable human trait.
Long after Saul had backslidden and tried numerous times to kill David, and even gone to inquire of a a witch, the men of Jabesh Gilead still loved him fiercely, because when he began, he saved them from the Amalekites who had besieged the town. That love was admirable and understandable. They took their own lives in their hands to rescue Saul’s corpse off of the city walls where the Philistines had hung him (to humiliate the memory of Saul).
And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;All the valiant men aro se, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.( I Samuel 31:11-13)
I understand this and it always touches something in me to read of this. In happier times he was valiant and useful and gifted of the LORD and they could never forget that… .