Psalm 107:10-16 (NIV): Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
Never write off anyone. Sometimes when we look at someone, at the wreck and ruin they have made of their lives, at all of the thousands of poor choices that they have made, choices that have landed them in a seemingly inescapable pit, it is easy to write them off as a lost cause; too bad to save. But if we look through the Bible, we will find several rascals (and worse!) that God not only saved, but used in His plan to spread salvation around the world.
Jacob is one example. A liar, a cheat, and an opportunist his whole life. At the age of 70, Jacob sole his twin brother’s blessing, then fled the country in fear for his life. For the next 20 years he tried his best to one-up his father-in-law, Laban, in sharp dealing, and eventually fled from him in secret with his family. You would think that such a man, with a 90-year history of sharp dealing would be so set in his ways that it would be a waste of time to try and save him. But God used circumstances to bring Jacob to his knees before Him. God allowed Jacob to wrestle against Him until Jacob had defeated himself. And, in the process, God changed the schemer, Jacob, into the father of His people, Israel.
Paul was another seemingly lost cause. As Saul the Pharisee, he was absolutely murderous toward all who went by the name of Jesus. He brought them in to be tortured, tried, and even executed, and believed himself to be totally righteous in doing so. He was about as hard-boiled as a person could be. But in one blinding moment, God drove him to his knees, and changed him in into one of the brightest lights in the history of the Church.
People may have lived lives of lawlessness for years, or even decades. In their sinfulness they may have cursed God’s name, hurt of killed His people, and run up a list of sins too long to imagine. They may have cast themselves into the darkest dungeon, with their hearts eaten away by the depth of their depravity. They may be bound up by iron chains of addition and abuse, shut in with bronze bars of so much darkness that light seems like a myth to them. But none of that matters to God. In a moment’s time, God can break down those bronze gates, flooding their hearts with unimaginable light. He can smash through iron chains, completely freeing them from decades of bondage.
NOBODY is too bad for God to save. But for God to compete the work of salvation, it takes His people to show these lost and imprisoned ones the way into the kingdom. God will open their hearts and shine light into their darkened minds, but God’s people must speak His word into their lives for that enlightenment to do any good. So ALWAYS be on the lookout for the man, the woman, even the child that God is working in . And NEVER write anyone off as too bad for God to save.
Father, thank You for making us partners with You in Your work of salvation. And thank You for never giving up on us. I was one who some thought was too far gone to be reached with the gospel. But a few were faithful in prayer, faithful in speaking Your truth into my life at every opportunity, and eventually You did bring me to my knees at Your feet. Help ALL of us, Lord, to bet that faithful, so that, working in close partnership with You, we can bring even those chained and imprisoned by years of sin and rebellion and addiction, to Your throne. Amen.