Judges 2:1-5 The Angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break My covenant with you. 2 You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done? 3 Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap to you.” 4 When the Angel of the LORD had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 5 So they named that place Bochim and offered sacrifices there to the LORD.
Most of us don’t take well to failure. Thomas Edison claimed to have failed over 1,000 times in his attempts to invent the light bulb. Teams began working on a polio vaccine in 1935. Many of the earlier vaccines produced results worse or as bad as polio itself. It wasn’t until 1953 that Jonas Salk introduced the first safe polio vaccine. (By the time he was ready for human trials they were considered to be so risky that Salk first vaccinated himself, his wife, and his children). The average person won’t push through one thousand failures and two decades of failed progress.
Failure knocks many Christians down to their knees, and they never recovery. This world is filled with men and women who believed on Jesus Christ for salvation, but they never worship Him or serve Him or testify to His love, because a past failure ruined today’s witness. Don’t allow your failures to ruin your walk with God. During times of failure listen to God and pray over your disappointments.
Listen to Know Your Short-comings
When you are going through a period of failure, you must listen to the Word of God. Many of us ignore God during those hard times in the valleys. We don’t pick up the Bible and listen as the Spirit speaks in a still small voice. We trust in our own wisdom and knowledge for deliverance. We wallow in our despair and assume tomorrow will be no different from today.
The Israelites were going through a hard time of failure during the end of Joshua’s days. They failed to find peace and victory in tribe after tribe in Judges chapter 1. The Angel of the LORD came to them after a period of regular failure. They could have very easily rejected the message from the Angel of the LORD, but in this moment they heard and responded. Don’t cut God out during a time of doubt and discouragement. Instead let God and allow His Word to wash into your spirit. Even when it is the last thing in the world you want to do, open the Word of God, allow your heavenly Father to speak over you in your hopelessness.
Respond with Tears of Confession
It’s all too easy for a lifelong Christian to walk away from the Word of God unaffected. After all, you have heard this before. You have read the Bible half a dozen times and your favorite passages hundreds of times. You know this. I am even talking about how we get through failure with a time of Bible reading and prayer. You can’t get more predictable than that.
So it is easy to think we know it all. We live it all, and we have nothing to confess and nowhere to grow. We always have somewhere to grow. None of us fully reflect the image of Jesus Christ. No one can live in a way that they don’t need to come before God in tears seeking forgiveness.
Failure is a great opportunity for the Christian to search deep and examine how he has been living. This is your chance to look inward for selfish motives. This is your day to look at your thought life, your witness in the world, and your testimony at work. Do you need to confess sins that the no one knows but you? Do you need to repent of anger, biting insults, or comments that tear down others?
Failure is an opportunity for growth, change, and progress to help you walk in righteousness in the future. Joshua’s generation saw that truth and cried out before the LORD. The following generations failed to crawl out of the mire of sin and were stuck for generations in their iniquity. May you take advantage of failure to grow closer to your Christ today.