One of the great truths found in scripture is that God is the God of a second chance. That truth can best be seen in the life of a man we call Simon Peter. On one occasion Simon Peter boasted that he would rather die than deny the Lord. Yet on that very night, Simon denied knowing the Lord not once, but three times. After his failure the Lord went to Simon and had a private conversation with him. During the conversation our Lord said-
John 21:15 …“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Personally I don’t believe that the Lord was trying to shame Peter or to back him into a corner. I believe that the Lord was trying to bring Peter out of his shame and to encourage him to receive forgiveness and to begin serving again. “Simon, if you love Me, receive My forgiveness and then get busy. Feed My sheep.” We know that God did forgive Peter and restored him to a place of great service. Many of you know that it was Simon Peter who preached the dynamic message on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 men were saved.
God is the God of a second chance, yet we must truly desire His forgiveness and restoration. The Bible says – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Ps 66:18) We can’t harbor sin in our lives and then expect God to bless us. John writes – “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth… If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:6, 8) God doesn’t grant forgiveness to those who deliberately continue to walk in disobedience. There must be a godly sorrow that causes us to repent of our sin and to desire God’s forgiveness and cleansing. David prayed in his psalm of repentance – “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:2, 7) David felt dirty and he wanted to be clean once again. Because David loved the Lord, he wanted also to feel close to Him again. “Let me hear joy and gladness… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:8, 10)
God is the God of a second change and He will give complete and full forgiveness to all those who will be honest with Him about their sin. John writes – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7, 9) Consider these great truths as we look once again at the story of Joshua. As long as there was sin in the camp, Israel could not stand before their enemies. But once the sin had been confessed and dealt with, the Lord returned once again to bless them.
Joshua 8:1 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. 2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves…