We pick off from where we left off a few weeks ago, counting down my favorite bible conversions and using them to remind ourselves of our own personal conversions, that precious moment when we were reconciled to the Father through our faith in His Son.
5) Jacob – Genesis 32:22-32 – It is very difficult to go through the account of the patriarchs without taking a second look at the life of Jacob. Here was a man who believed so much in his own strength, wisdom and abilities. He tricked Esau out of his birthright and fooled Isaac when it came to the pronouncement of the blessing that culturally belonged to the firstborn son. Laban thought he was a sly fox but in Jacob, he more than met his match. This dude just knew how to get results in his own strength. In fact, his name, Jacob, means schemer, supplanter, trickster and the like! However, everything changed when Jacob encountered God both at Peniel and Bethel. After wrestling with God at Peniel, there was an inward transformation that resulted in is name being changed from Jacob to Israel, which means Prince with God. Key highlight: 27 [The Man] asked him, What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]!28 And He said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob [supplanter], but Israel [contender with God]; for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed.
4) Moses – Exodus 3:1-22 – No conversion list would be complete without the addition of perhaps one of the greatest leaders in human history, Moses. Born to Hebrew slaves, Moses, through the divine providence of God finds himself being raised in the opulent palaces of the greatest nation at the time. He must have been taught the idol worship of the Egyptians at the time. He was also secretly being told about the God of the Jewish people by those whom God had strategically positioned to do so. This became evident when he unsuccessfully tried to launch into his calling as a deliverer of the Israelites and only ended up murdering an Egyptian guard. He must have compared the state of the Egyptians who raised him with the hopelessness of the Jewish people who served him. Yet, Moses decided to turn his back on all the trappings, comfort and luxury of Egyptian aristocracy, to follow a God he had never seen. Key Highlight: 2 The [a]Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, yet was not consumed.3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses! And he said, Here am I.
3) The Thief on the Cross – Luke 23:39-43 – Coming in at number 3 is a conversion that never fails to fascinate me. The thief on the cross, under the most unlikely circumstances, recognised Jesus as the Son of God. He didn’t recognise Christ in His element, healing the sick and casting out demons. Not even the news that He had fed thousands with only five loaves and two fish was enough to get this thief’s attention. It wasn’t news of his wondrous miracles or unparalleled wisdom that transformed this thief. I find it amazing that it was on the cross, where Christ was stripped, beaten, battered, bruised, spat on, humiliated and dying, that this thief got the revelation that he was being crucified with the Son of God. Only Heaven could have revealed such to him considering the circumstances. Key Highlight: 42 Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come [o]in Your kingly glory!43 And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
2) Saul of Tarsus – Acts 9:1-31 – My choice of position 2 has probably surprised a lot of people, not because it came in so high but rather because it isn’t my number 1 choice. This was a rather difficult decision to make for me because I have always been bewildered by the transformation on the road to Damascus. Most of us know how the zealot Saul persecuted the early Church in the name of God. He did it with all his heart and might. Wherever there was a major attack on new believers, Saul wasn’t far away. It was his duty. It was his passion. He lived to fight for the Jewish faith he believed in. However, on that fateful day, he encountered the risen Christ in His glory. The light of His glory knocked him off his horse and blinded him for some time. Jesus then gave Saul specific instructions that would set him off on an unparalleled ministry to the gentiles. The rest as they say is history. Imagine a modern-day enemy of the faith, say a top Al-Qaeda agent, going on to become one of the greatest Christian evangelists and author of our time. That’s just a fraction of an example compared to what happened to Paul. Key Highlight: Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him,4 And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]?5 And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. [b]It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].6 Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do? The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.
1) Abraham – Genesis 12:1-20 – There’s a reason why the scriptures refer to Abraham as the father of faith. Here was a man born into a family of idol worshipers. All he ever knew were the numerous idols his forefathers prayed to and worshiped. His father, Terah may have received the call from God to depart from Ur of the Chaldees and journey to the land of Canaan (Genesis 11:31) but he settled and died in Haran. Abraham’s brother, Nahor, remained in Ur of the Chaldees. Turning his back on all the tradition and customs of his forefathers, Abraham answered the call of God to journey to an unknown country with an unknown fate. He trusted and invisible God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Hebrews 11:8-9 - 8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
Key Highlight: And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This man shall not be your heir, but he who shall come from your own body shall be your heir.5 And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be.6 And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).7 And He said to him, I am the [same] Lord, Who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees to give you this land as an inheritance.
That concludes my list. I hope we can all appreciate the conversions of these men and women of God from the kingdom of darkness into light. In the same way, God in His mercy has saved us from ourselves and is eager to save those of us who are still stumbling around in the dark. One encounter with the living God will transform your life and change the world around you. O taste and see that the Lord is good.