Failures, Failure

* Let failures strengthen, not weaken you

After Israel had been cleansed from Achan’s sin, Joshua prepared to attack Ai again–this time to win.  Joshua had learned some lessons from the failures that we can follow: (1) Confess your sins when God reveals them to you; (2) when you fail, refocus on God, deal with the problem, and move on.  God wants the cycle of sin, repentance, and forgiveness to strengthen us, not weaken us.  The lessons we learn from our failures should make us better able to handle the same situation the second time around.  Because God is eager to give us cleansing, forgiveness, and strength, the only way to lose is to give up.  We can tell what kind of people we are by what we do on the second and third attempts. (NLT)

Joshua 8:1 – Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged.  Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.

* Our fear of failure causes us to hide

When the Israelites assembled to choose a king, Saul already knew he was the one.  Instead of coming forward, however, he hid among the baggage.  Often we hide from important responsibilities because we are afraid of failure, afraid of what others will think, or perhaps unsure about how to proceed.  Prepare now to step up to your future responsibilities.  Count on God’s provision rather than your feelings of adequacy. (NLT)

1 Samuel 10:22 – So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”  And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.”

* Don’t repeat failures of others

We may condemn our predecessors for their failures, but we are twice as guilty if we repeat the same mistakes that we recognize as failures.  Often we are so ready to direct God’s message at others that we can’t see how it touches our own life.  Make sure you are willing to take your own advice as you teach or lead. (NLT)

Isaiah 42:23 – Will not even one of you apply these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you?

* God’s work not limited by human failures

In the first 17 verses we meet 46 people whose lifetimes span 2,000 years.  All were ancestors of Jesus, but they varied considerably in personality, spirituality, and experience.  Some were heroes of faith–like Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David.  Some had shady reputations–like Rahab and Tamar.  Many were very ordinary–like Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, and Akim.  And others were evil–like Manasseh and Abijah.  God’s work in history is not limited by human failures or sins, and he works through ordinary people.  Just as God used all kinds of people to bring his Son into the world, he uses all kinds today to accomplish his will.  And God wants to use you. (NLT)

Matthew 1:1, 17 – This [versus 2-16] is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham.

All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to King David, and fourteen from David’s time to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

* Recognizing our failures

Peter wept bitterly, not only because he realized that he had denied his Lord, the Messiah, but also because he had turned away from a very dear friend, a person who had loved and taught him for three years.  Peter had said that he would never deny Christ, despite Jesus’ prediction.  But when frightened, he went against all he had boldly promised.  Unable to stand up for his Lord for even 12 hours, he had failed as a disciple and as a friend.  We need to be aware of our own breaking points and not become over-confident or self-sufficient.  If we fail him, we must remember that Christ can use those who recognize their failure.  From this humiliating experience Peter learned much that would help him later when he assumed leadership of the young church. (NLT)

Luke 22:62 – And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly.

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