Topic: Managing Failure
Text: 1 Samuel 15:24- 31
Key Verse: Saul said, “I did sin, but please honor me in front of the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Come back with me, so I can worship the Lord your God.” – 1 Samuel 15:30
One of the most challenging things to face in life is a failure. No one wants to fail in any endeavor, but failure occurs in education, sports, warfare, relationships, and leadership.
King Saul had failed in waiting for divine timing. He fell short in making strategic decisions during warfare. He was reckless in his utterances about putting Jonathan to death, and now he seemed unable to manage failure.
Man in his natural self is prone to error due to the fallen nature of sin, which corrupts our value system and gives us a false sense of judgment. But God is ever ready to forgive and allow a man to repent and amend his ways.
David, just like Saul, failed often, but the difference between them was that David was quick to repent before the Lord and seek restored fellowship with God rather than the honor of a man.
Saul acknowledged his sin but did not persist in seeking God’s mercy; his priority was on how the elders will see him; and what they will think of him.
David gives us another example of managing our relationship with God during failure.
David said, “I have disobeyed the Lord.” “Yes, you have!” Nathan answered. “You showed you didn’t care what the Lord wanted. He has forgiven you, and you won’t die. But your newborn son will.” Then Nathan went back home. The Lord made David’s young son very sick. So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed but spent each night lying on the floor. His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them. David answered: While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will pity me and let the child live.” – 2 Samuel 12:13,15-17,22 CEV
David humbled himself before God and didn’t stop asking for mercy. He didn’t mind who was watching or listening, but he focused on seeking God’s face.
After a moment of failure, what is your priority to save face or seek forgiveness? The words “I am sorry” are few but very powerful during failure, but people hardly use them because they are still conscious of self-image and the opinion of men. Learn to pursue mercy from God and man when you discern your mistake.
David reveals the right posture of a man who has failed in Psalms 51; godly sorrow for failure towards God should be the priority, not fulfilling rituals or making sacrifices.
The way to please you is to feel sorrow deep in our hearts. This is the kind of sacrifice you won’t refuse. – Psalm 51:17CEV
Believers who compromise and disobey God’s Word only to come and make generous donations to the ministry act like Saul. When we fail to walk in love towards others and pursue religious activities when we know someone is hurting and has wounds because our behavior is similar to Saul’s action.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10NLT
Genuine sorrow for sin, which is failure towards God, always produces repentance; even if the throne may be lost, the eternal future of man is worth fighting for.
Saul never saw Samuel again to intercede for him; neither did he return to his home to seek God’s face; he continued to rule in the power of the flesh outside the favor of God. No failure needs to be final; God is merciful.
The lost son did not mind what people would say when he returned to his Father, he was willing to be a servant in his own home rather than remain an estranged son.
Return and be reconciled with your family, humble yourself and repent publicly if that is what God wants. Pride blinded Saul, and he failed to take hold of the mercy of God like Ahab.
(No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife, Jezebel. His worst outrage was worshiping idols as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.)But when Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing, dressed in burlap, and fasted. He even slept in burlap and went about in deep mourning. Then another message from the Lord came to Elijah: “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty.” – 1 Kings 21:25-29 NLT
Are you facing the consequences of sin, or did you fail at leadership in the home or workplace? It is not over yet; return to God in genuine repentance, his mercy always speaks, don’t be bothered by the faces, praises, or opinions of men; what matters is restored fellowship with God.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:16 NLT
Father, may your mercy speak over me, my brethren, and the church in this season in Jesus’ name. Forgive us for our faults, wrong priorities, fears, and disobedience, help us to seek your will always no matter what people think of us, give us the grace to overcome peer pressure in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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