I’m reading 1st Kings. Still. LOL. I am up to chapter 14. In that chapter there is an old prophet called Ahijah. Jeroboam’s wife was told to disguise herself and go see him.
“Jeroboam’s wife did so. She arose and went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. And the Lord said to Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”” (1 Kings 14:4-5)
As I read the bible I like to picture the scene. I am picturing Ahijah’s humble home, likely at dusk. If Jeroboam’s wife didn’t want to be seen, she would likely have gone when it was dusk or dark. So Ahijah’s house is dark, a few lanterns around. And he’s sitting there, in a rocking chair maybe, in the living room, enjoying the air and listening to the breeze or maybe the village around him.
Maybe he was thinking, ‘I am old and I cannot be used. I am old and used up’. Maybe he was thinking that because he was blind, the LORD would have no further use for him.
But it was not so.
“But when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you.” (1 Kings 14:6)
Despite his age, which the Holy Spirit deliberately included in the bible, despite his disability of blindness, which the Spirit deliberately included too, Ahijah was charged with a task. He had a personal charge from God to deliver the message. He did not flinch from it, despite it being unbearable. Really, is there worse news to give than the LORD has marked your son and your family for death? But Ahijah was charged with an important prophecy to deliver. It came true a few years later.
Despite Ahijah’s age and blindness, The LORD used him.
Anna was old also. Luke 2 records this
“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38).
Let’s guess, given the era, that Anna married at age 15. She was married 7 years and then became a widow. So from age 22 to 84 she was a widow devoting herself to the LORD- in the temple. As the years droned on, and then the decades, I wonder what Anna thought. We do know that at least for over 60 years, she worshiped. And then, she saw Israel’s redemption! And she “spoke to all” who were waiting Israel’s redemption. From the mouth of a widow the Lord used her to speak to all of Him.
Apostle John lived a long and important life. He followed Jesus, he was witness to the resurrection, he pastored a church, he nurtured hundreds in Christ, wrote a Gospel, wrote the epistles of John, and then he was sent to the Island of Patmos.
A more forbidding place there cannot be. It is Mars-like in appearance, rocky and hot, barren and isolated. It’s only 13 square miles.The Romans used it and islands like it as a modern day rendition- it was a place where legally, political and religious detainees didn’t exist. John was exiled there for the word of Jesus (Revelation 1:9). He was by that time well over 90 years of age.
I wonder what John was thinking. He was very old, and all his old Apostle friends had been killed. His younger friends had been killed or scattered too. Maybe he was sitting on the beach, looking out, thinking, “This is it, the Lord will not use me any more. I am here on this island and remote from the world. There is no one even to preach to.”
The bible records, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”” (Revelation 1:9-10).
John was charged with writing the monumental book of Revelation. The climax, the conclusion of all that the LORD intends, the end of history and the hope of the coming of Christ, was given to John to see in vision and then to write.
Despite John’s remote location, the Lord used him.
Isn’t it funny, the Lord used Moses, a murderer. Despite the fact that Moses stuttered, or had some kind of articulation problem, he was used as God’s mouthpiece as the most famous prophet in all the bible.
“But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”” (Exodus 4:10-12)
Despite Moses’s character and stuttering, God used him.
Jeremiah’s age was no barrier to being used. Just as Ahijah or Anna was not too old, Jeremiah was not too young.
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”” (Jeremiah 1:6-8)
Shepherd and fig-grower Amos was used by God, despite his lowly station in life. Shepherds were considered low, as noted here by MacArthur:
“Shepherds spent most of their time in the fields away from society and had no influence to speak of. In modern terms they were blue-collar workers largely unnoticed by those in power. Shepherds were in the lower classes of society.”
“So Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet; rather, I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore figs.’ ” (Amos 7:14)
So we see that despite age, ability, character, location, or socio-economic status, the Lord Jesus can and will use you. You could be young and just starting out, like Jeremiah, or old and seemingly finished, like Anna or Ahijah- but Jesus can use you. Gender doesn’t matter either, He used Mary, Rahab, Anna, Miriam, Lydia, Huldah… His power will flow through you and enable you.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
If you are weak but being used of God, you are operating from a position of the strongest in the universe. Any and all persons in Christ with the Spirit in them will be used of God for His purposes. Any time, any where, there is no retirement rocking chair mentality. He uses you every day and despite your protestations over your age, location, status, or disability- He uses you. If He chooses you for a certain task, He will enable you to finish it.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” (1 Corinthians 1:26)
The one thing these all had in common, was that they loved the Lord. Do you love Him? I hope you do. Jesus is the unique individual of the universe, distinct in holiness and perfection.