Home » Life of a Leader » Can God make ordinary men do extraordinary things?

Can God make ordinary men do extraordinary things?

What would dads do without duct tape?  When I was a kid, my dad had a 1979 Chevrolet Cheviot with broken hinges to the back seat side window.  (The window was the kind that pops out to vent the car.)  My father was afraid that the window would fall off while driving, so he had to fix it.  His solution?  Duct tape!  For nearly a decade my dad would drive that car and as long as I can remember, the back windows were held together by duck tape.  Duct tape was the perfect solution.  Every man here this morning, can appreciate the value of a good roll of duct tape.  “When you can’t fix it, duct tape it!”

As a kid, I used to think that duct tape was the miracle tool that held everything together, but I have come to understand that it was not duct tape that held our home together; it was the man that used it that kept things together.  My father was the miracle that kept us together.  In our house, my dad represented stability and strength.  He was steady as a rock and in my eyes, the perfect example of fatherhood.

Regardless of life’s circumstances, I took for granted that my dad would take the high road as I had witnessed him do many times even at his own expense in order to preserve the integrity of our home.  He impressed me so much, that when it was time for me to identify my “best man” for my wedding day, hands down, that role could only be filled by one man, my dad.  Truly, my father is the best man I have ever known.  To many he may only appear to be merely an ordinary man, but to me, he is an extraordinary man that God has used to invest, to influence and to impact my life.

That is the remarkable thing about Fatherhood; God can take an ordinary individual and allow him to make an extraordinary impact on the lives that he has been entrusted.  Dads may today serve as a sober reminder of how significant our role is in our society.  May we resolve together to be what fathers need to be; Godly men of integrity that provide what is needed, protect from those that threaten and perform that which is honorable before God.  Let us be authentic men that are not afraid to show affection and express our true feelings.  Let us be sensitive men that are not afraid to hug our children or even cry when necessary.  Let us be transparent in admitting when we’re wrong, seek forgiveness when we have offended, and ask for help when in need.  (Even if that means stopping to ask for directions.)  These are just some of the things that make ordinary men, extraordinary men.  These are just some of the things that make ordinary fathers, extraordinary dads.

God’s word is full of incredible men that serve as amazing examples for us today.  We could look upon several men outlined in scripture that were remarkable men of faith.  Much could be gained by highlighting men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, or David.  These were all extraordinary men God used to lay the foundations of our faith.  We could consider Peter, James, John or the Apostle Paul.  These men were living stones that God used to build the body of Christ; all amazing candidates to consider for a relevant Father’s Day message.  But with that in my mind, I feared that many here this morning would think that these were far from ordinary men.  Their names seem to clutter the pages of scripture.  Their stories take multiple chapters to tell.  The temptation would be to dismiss their experiences as tales told of unusually gifted men of great ability.  After all, these are the “patriarchs of faith.”

What can normal, everyday, ordinary people do in terms of greatness?  Can normal, everyday, ordinary men do super, amazing, extraordinary things?  I mean, can simple ordinary men do things that really do become a big deal even though they are “small potatoes”?  Is it possible to accomplish greatness and be an ordinary nobody?

Purposely, I have sought out 2 highly ordinary men that are barely even mentioned in scripture that will answer this question.  Can God make ordinary men do extraordinary things?

First, let me introduce Othniel.  I want us to recognize the family name.  I wonder how many people have ever heard of this man’s name—Othniel.  I have never heard a preacher preach about this man before, but this morning, I want us to learn of his significance.

And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.  And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.  And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.[1]

Othniel was Israel’s first Judge—what does that mean?  If we read the context we see that the children of Israel forsook the Lord.  Israel did evil in the sight of God and forgot Him.  They served Baal.  Verse 8 says that the Lord was hot, he was angry.  Therefore, they fell into slavery, but after 8 years of bondage they repented.  God heard their cry and raised up Israel’s first judge Othniel to deliver them.  After Othniel made war, Israel had peace for 40 years.  Othniel dies, that’s it; end of story!  Othniel was an ordinary man, that became an extraordinary judge.  However, from this account we can learn from His success.  Even though Othniel is an ordinary man, he comes from an extraordinary family.  Othniel is Caleb’s younger brother.  We do not know much about Othniel, but we know a great deal about Caleb.

In Numbers 13:30 we read that Caleb, “…stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.”  When Caleb spoke these words, this should have been a special time for the nation of Israel.  They had been delivered from the evil taskmasters of Egypt.  They had been set free by the blood of the Passover lamb.  They had been provided for and protected on their journey.  At this time Israel had reached Kadesh-barnea, which bordered the Promised Land and Caleb was sent along with 11 others to scout out the land.  Caleb was faithful, He said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it”  Caleb expected God’s people to stay united, stand together and succeed by faith.  Cableb knew that success came by trusting God and taking Him at His word.  Caleb was a great man of faith!

And now we see his younger brother, Othniel standing by faith to become Israel’s first judge.  This ordinary man does the extraordinary!   Is this just a coincidence?  Is it a coincidence that this ordinary man comes from a family where extraordinary things are accomplished?   Think about that for a minute while I introduce another ordinary man. His name is Shamgar.

Shamgar’s is so obscure, that he is only mentioned in 2 verses of scripture.  It says in the third chapter of Judges that, “…Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.”  Shamgar slew 600 men with an ox goad—a sharp pointed instrument that was up to 10 long used to guide oxen.  By this account, he was an ordinary man, using ordinary means to do the extraordinary things.  The other verse in scripture where Shamgar’s name is mentioned is in Judges 5 which offers commentary on the day in which Shamgar was living and why he was fighting.[2]  The context reveals that the highways needed preserved.  The nation was forced to use the back roads; the byways.  The nation was oppressed and they were cut off from the direct roadways.  They could not make it progress; the enemy had blocked the obvious paths.  They were sidetracked, detoured and led down others paths that often would become dead ends.  Therefore, Shamgar was fighting to be able to walk down Main Street.  Shamgar wanted to walk down the good, acceptable paths of           life.  He did not want to be detoured or sidetracked any longer.  He did not want to waste his time going down a road with a dead end.  He fought so that he could freely walk the good and acceptable paths of life.  Oddly as it sounds, he fought to preserve the highways, and he fought because the homes needed protected.  The inhabitants ceased.  There was a breakdown of the family.  The home was under attack.  This was the enemy’s greatest success for as the home goes, so goes the nation.  However Shamgar, this ordinary, everyday, nobody that is listed in scripture, achieved extraordinary victory as he fought for his home and as he fought for his liberty.

Can normal, everyday, ordinary people do super, amazing extraordinary things? Can simple ordinary men do things that really do become a big deal even though they are seemingly insignificant?  Is it possible to accomplish greatness and be an ordinary nobody?  Yes!  You have just discovered in scripture that can happen.  But the question becomes, can you accomplish the extraordinary even though you are a simple, everyday, ordinary man/woman?

Here is my message to you this morning.  When a normal everyday ordinary man functions as a faithful father (or even woman as a faithful mother), God will raise up the ordinary to do the extraordinary.  Realize it or not, we have things in common with these two simple ordinary nobodies.  Othniel illustrates the power of a faithful home. I don’t believe it was an accident that the products of this home went on to accomplish extraordinary things for the Lord.  Othniel experienced a life of faith, as faith was expressed and exampled first, in the home.

What is exampled in your home today?  What do your children see in you?  I can’t help believe that I am the man of faith today, because of the faith that I experienced as it was expressed and exampled first, in my home by my father.  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.[3]

Shamgar was a man of faith that refused to sidetrack his life.  Shamgar refused to take his family down a dead end road.  We read that he did not have much, (just a simple ox goad) but that which he had, he used to accomplish the extraordinary.

The scripture is full of men doing the extraordinary with the ordinary things of life.  All Moses had was a rod, yet he parted the Red Sea.  David only had a sling and a few stones, but he became a giant slayer.  A little boy had 5 small loaves of bread and 2 messily fish and the multitudes were fed.  God doesn’t expect you to use what you do not have, but He expects you to use those things that you do have to make a difference for Him.  And when you do, watch out, something extraordinary is about to happen.

Dads (and moms as well for that matter), we have an incredible opportunity before us, to do extraordinary things in the life of our children.  This week let us not be detoured or sidetracked in our journey; fight to walk in the path of the Lord.  Use whatever resource we have to fight for our kids.  This week calculate the amount of time spent at the office or the amount of time spent in front of the T.V.  Prioritize the home by prioritizing quality time in the home with the family.  The enemy is trying to undermine the home.  For as the home goes, so does the nation.  Satan is seeking to devour us, and he is locked and loaded with our families in his cross hairs. To wipe out our homes will be his greatest success.  And the enemy’s greatest success is our greatest defeat.  Let us fight to protect our homes and preserve our liberties.

We are living in a time when the home is under a massive attack.  The devil has plenty of tools to play havoc with family life.  No doubt we have experienced the assault on our homes.  But father’s as men of faith, we can make the difference. God can use the everyday simple ordinary man to do extraordinary things.  Therefore, let us commit to be men of faith?  It starts with a relationship with Jesus.  Let us all first make sure we have accepted Christ as our Savior.  Then as we worship, grow and serve Him with our life, He will work in us to do the extraordinary.


[1] Judges 3:9-11.

[2] Judges 5:6-7.

[3] See Proverbs 22:6.

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