Failure, Grace, and Consequences

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 23, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

How do you handle failure? How about when that failure was an intentional choice to do the wrong thing?

As much as we may like to blame circumstances, blame others, rationalize, negotiate, and basically do anything to avoid admitting we chose to do wrong, the truth and consequences cannot be avoided. But if we avoid owning our rebellion, we may miss out on the grace intended to help us make progress. Worse yet, we may miss our lesson entirely, and just keep repeating the cycle of our selfish chaos.

As we continue in this series of blog posts on the book of Judges, feel free to go back and read the previous week’s post here. For this week, read Judges 3:7-11.

Notice in verses 7-8 that Israel does evil; they go against God's ways again and worship other gods. And as a result, God allows them to be captive to the king of Mesopotamia for 8 years.

After 8 years, they have been crying out to God for rescue - begging God to undo their consequences. Israel may not have taken responsibility for the evil they did, but they are shattered and asking God to help them. It's in this place of failure and brokenness that God demonstrates grace. Look at verses 9-11.

God raises up a leader, a judge, to get Israel back on track. His name is Othniel. He is the younger brother of Caleb. Caleb was one of the two leaders that obeyed God when Israel had the chance to leave the desert and enter the promised land (see Numbers 13). Now, God raises up Othniel to lead them out of the captivity to Mesopotamia and back to the life God intended for them.

Empowered by God, Othniel judges Israel and overcomes the king of Mesopotamia and frees Israel. As a result, in verse 11 the Bible says "the LAND had rest for 40 years." The Hebrew word for "land" there can mean the whole country, the nation, all the people, or the whole world. And the word "rest" means silence, stillness, security, or lack of strife. Take a moment and reflect on that for a second. When God gives Israel a leader to get them back on track and hold them accountable to God's ways, the people and the land (perhaps the whole world) had rest, security, and a lack of strife for 40 years.

Not only was there progress for Israel when they owned their failure and got right with God, but there was a lack of strife for the whole nation or maybe the whole world. God's grace and correction are meant to get us to a place where our lives bring about His grace and peace in our circumstances and for the lives of others also. Think about it: when we do wrong, others are hurt. Anger, bitterness, strife, or even war can come about when we do what is evil, selfish, and wrong. But when we own our failure, when we pay attention to grace and learn from the correction God gives us, we may experience a change of circumstance far greater than just 'getting out of trouble.'

We are all likely to fail. We may even rebel against God's ways and find ourselves in desperate circumstances. We all deserve separation from God - eternal death. Certainly, we need Jesus, and He is the only way to right relationship with God - eternal life. Perhaps God has even sent you an 'Othniel,' a leader, a 'judge' to get you back on track. The question is, how will you handle your failures? Will you grow through the grace and accountability God offers? Will the world and the people around you experience God's blessing because you are making progress with Him?

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