Devotional: ‘Learning From Our Failures’

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God is a God of a second chance, a third chance, and even a fourth chance. God will forgive as long as there is a need for forgiveness. The Bible says – “…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” (Romans 5:20 ESV) One translation puts it – “When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.”

When it’s sin versus grace, grace always wins. But that does not mean that God’s grace gives us a license to sin? The Apostle Paul also wrote – “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” “God forbid…” Paul exclaimed! (see Romans 6:1-2) There are at least two great reasons why a believer should not carelessly sin:

1) Careless sinning under the disguise of grace is a mockery of God’s grace. (see Jude 1:4)

2) Sin always has a consequence.

The Bible says – “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8) Even with grace, we often reap what we sow. This truth can be seen in the story of Joshua and his battles with Ai.

As we have seen in previous studies, the first time Israel went against Ai, they were defeated. Thirty-six Israelite soldiers lost their life that day. Why were they defeated? They were defeated because there was sin in the camp. A man by the name of Achan had disobeyed God and as a result, he brought pain and sorrow upon the entire nation. But once Achan’s sin had been exposed and dealt with properly, God restored His favor to Israel and the second time they went against Ai, they destroyed the city completely.

After the victory, Joshua did something very important that every believer needs to understand.

Joshua 8:30 At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the Law of Moses, which he had written.

What did Joshua do that was so important?

He thanked God for His goodness (the altar)

He established truth in the people’s hearts so that they would not sin again (reading of the Law of Moses)

Failure doesn’t have to be final. God is the God of a second chance. God can turn any situation around. But a wise person will learn from their failures and strive to not repeat them again.

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