"A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again."
There you have it, right from the Holy Scriptures. Failure need not be Defeat. Just ask the father of our faith, Abraham. When in his flesh, he produced Ishmael; God had him get back up and by Divine grace brought forth Isaac. When Moses, in his self will, murdered the Egyptian guard, God still prepared him to deliver His people out of bondage. When Aaron, in his weakness of character and succumbing to peer pressure, gave way to the idolatrous worship of the golden calf, God restored him and he became high priest of Israel! After Elijah challenged and defeated 450 prophets of Baal, as well as confronting Ahab, he then runs in fear upon a threat from Jezebel and became so despondent he asked to die. But God renewed Elijah, and then took him to heaven in a fiery chariot, without seeing death.
Manasseh was Israel's most wicked King. He revived idol worship and desecrated all the sacred things of the Lord. He sacrificed his son to Molech, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, consulted spirits and mediums and shed much innocent blood. The Assyrians captured Manasseh, put a ring through his nose and carried him off to Babylon. When in his affliction he repented, humbled himself and implored the Lord. God restored Manasseh to his throne and he repaired all the evil he had done.
David the shepherd boy, the Goliath slayer and the King of Israel fell into adultery, committed murder and then covered it up. Yet, through confession and repentance, David was not only restored, but was called a man after God's own heart. Then there is the bold, brash and self-confident Peter. He not only cuts off the servants ear, (I believe he meant to take off his head), but betrays Jesus not once, not twice but three times. What did Jesus do with Peter? "And the Lord turned and LOOKED at Peter." Jesus LOOK of compassion pierced Peter's heart and kept his fall from being fatal. Yes, YES, YES!
God not only LOOKS at the Peters, but His amazing grace hears and responds to the worst of sinners, like Manasseh! God's great love, forgiveness and grace turned Manasseh years of purposeful rebellion from being a total defeat, and so He can do with any of us. With God it is never, "One and your Done." No, with God your fall needs not to be fatal, nor your failure a forever defeat.
Your failure does not have to define you! God's restorative grace is what defines you! Just ask Mary Magdalene. His grace, with her cooperation, turned the lifetime prostitute into a virtuous woman that followed Jesus even when the disciples fled. Ask the Demoniacs about restorative grace. They instantly became evangelists. This is why I am a follower of Jesus and not a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Hope for the fallen, that's me, that's you and that's the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. NO ONE is excluded. Everyone that confesses his sin and repents can be restored." If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
In the greatest book ever written on the life of Jesus Christ it is stated that, "The very essence of the gospel is RESTORATION." DA824. We can all gather hope and courage that IF great men like Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, David and Peter can fail and be restored. Then, hopefully we can see that our God can and will do the same for you and me. If that isn't enough to encourage all of us, we need only to look at the wickedest King of them all-Manasseh. Despite the depths of his utter depravity and vileness, God restored him to the throne and used him to undo all he had done.
God would have us all learn from our defeats, not retire in them! God is encouraging all of us, by His restorative grace to Get Up, Confess our sin, Repent and now be His instrument of righteousness. This to me, is what God is saying through the failure of these seven men. Don't be held hostage by your failure. I have a plan for your life! You can have a future with Me! It's never, "One and your Done." That's what Satan told Judas. That's not the gospel-the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. No, that's once a sinner always a sinner.
May we all gather courage from the examples of the Bible characters of old? We may have been knocked down, but we are not knocked out! The God of these seven men is also our God, especially amidst our time of failure. Consider what Jesus said to Peter in the upper room on the night before He was crucified: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have TURNED BACK, strengthen your brothers." Yes, whomever God restores, He brings back to Himself and uses.
The prophet Micah confirms this when he says: "Do not rejoice over me my enemy; when I fall, I will arise... He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteous. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, where is the Lord your God?" In other words, failure need NOT be defeat and falling does not have to be fatal. Through the enabling grace of God, coupled with a complete surrender and dependence upon Him, we can all succeed, though we have failed!
Rejoicing in Him,
Jim & Sally