God has the power to turn evil into good – by Kevin Adams – 2-27-16
Wanted: A body was found buried in the Egyptian sand. The murderer has fled to Midian and is on the loose. He is armed with a rod and can be considered armed and dangerous.
Wanted: A gang leader of the group known as “Thirty Mighty Men” is wanted for multiple charges, especially for conspiracy to commit murder. The evidence for his crime is overwhelming and he has already been declared guilty.
Wanted: A man who has committed multiple home invasions is wanted for causing the torture and possible death of several people who call themselves “Followers of the Way.” He refers to himself as “Chief Sinner.” He was last seen heading for Damascus in Syria to continue his attacks.
No, this is not an attempt to create a new “America’s Most Wanted.” This is simply what would have been on Twitter feeds if such a thing existed in the days of the Bible. The men listed above are not known today as fugitives or thugs. They are known as three of the greatest men in the Bible. Their names are Moses, David and Paul. These men changed the world because God changed them.
Before Moses delivered his people from Egyptian bondage, he needed deliverance himself. Moses murdered a man and did 40 years in exile as a result. (Ex. 2:11-15). During that time, Moses received on-the–job training as a shepherd and learned how to survive in the wilderness. At the end of 40 years, God came to Moses and called him to fulfill his destiny and purpose to deliver his people from slavery into promise. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible.
David was attacked by the first king of Israel and formed a gang in the hills of Judea. The Bible says, “All who were down on their luck came around — losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader…” (1 Sam. 22:2, Message Bible). David had 600 men raiding and killing to support themselves while they were on the run from the law for seven years.
Later, when David became king, he had sex with a married woman and, to cover up her pregnancy, he had her husband killed. Yet David became a person called “a man after God’s own heart,” (Acts 13:22) and he wrote many of the Psalms we have in our Bible today.
Paul was his Greek name; Saul was his Hebrew name. As Saul he became known far and wide as a person who would invade the home of Christian families and put them in jail or worse because he saw them as violators of his Jewish laws and traditions. Paul was on his way to wreak more havoc in Damascus when the risen Lord Jesus met him on the road and changed his life. The man who attacked Christians became their most powerful leader, and he wrote one-third of our New Testament.
These men were messed-up criminals with rap sheets and a trail of bodies behind them. Yet God wanted them and chose them to become “new creations” that he continues to use today. God loves to choose the most unlikely of men and women and change them “from glory to glory.” When we face the problem of gang violence in our city, we need to pray that from them God would raise up the next Moses, David or Paul.
In this election year when we decide who to elect, we have to remember that God elects us. We are criminals in sin that God has voted to change. The God of all creation has entered not a voting booth in private, but a public cross and died there between two thieves as a criminal so he could redeem criminals. It is we who are “the elect of God” because Jesus chose us on that cross and rose from the dead so he could be our advocate and judge. As Paul wrote, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Rom. 8:33).
Wanted: Anyone who is looking for a brand-new start and a brand-new life. The same Lord that reached out and chose Moses, David and Paul is reaching out and choosing you to be part of his family today. Your past is not an issue. He forgives your past and gives you a new future. You have never been more wanted, or more loved. Let God change you so you can change the world.
Kevin Adams is senior pastor at Olivet Baptist Church.