The Biggest Failures in the Bible

I have always enjoyed studying and reading about the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. It is safe to say that Paul is my hero in the New Testament second to Jesus Himself. Paul was bold in His preaching, tender hearted with sinners and a comfort and encouragement to the saints of God even most of his letters to the church were written while he was incarcerated. I have preached and taught hundreds of times from 2 Timothy 4 where the Bible gives us the account of him “passing the gauntlet” on to young Timothy. While reading that passage again today I  noticed something I have never seen before. In verse 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul tells Timothy that he “fought a good fight.” Paul never once said he fought the best fight. He only concluded that he fought a good fight. I pray that I can be a portion of the man of God that Paul was! Paul died more right with God than most people in the church live today! But Paul still acknowledged that it was a only a good fight. Paul knew that there had been times when he was not the man of God he was meant to be. He recognized that at one point in the past he was by definition a complete failure. This got the gears in my mind to turning so I flipped over to Hebrews 11 and started reading the Bible’s Hall of Faith. As I read, it became clearer to me that some of the greatest men of the Bible were at one time some of the biggest failures of the Bible. Look at Abraham. In Genesis 12, he gathers his wife and heads to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan. Before they get there he tells his wife Sarah to lie and say that she is only his sister. Abraham was scared that because she was so beautiful that Pharaoh and his men would kill him and take his wife for themselves. When they arrived in Egypt, Abraham’s fear became reality. His wife’s beauty attracted Pharaoh and she was taken into his house. God decided to punish Pharaoh for this by sending plagues to him and his household. So now Abraham is a lying con – artist and ended up causing someone else to suffer yet he ends up being mentioned in God’s Hall of Faith. Next we see David. If you study the life of David you will find that he was one of the most wicked men of the Old Testament. On a day when David should have been on the battle field he was at home taking it easy. He ends up seeing Bathsheba naked while she was bathing and decided that he wanted her for himself. So David takes her and has his way with her. In order to cover up his adultery, he had her husband placed on the front lines in battle to ensure that he was killed in the line of duty thus allowing David to further cover himself by taking her to be his wife. So here we have David being an adulterous murderer, yet God called him “a man after my own heart!” When Christ returns in all of His glory, He will be sitting on David’s throne. We can even see this same trend in the apostle Paul. Before Paul became a Christian, he was the enemy of all Christians. He made a really good living by persecuting and killing the people of God and doing it legally. How could a man who killed the people of God lay on his death bed and say that he has a crown of righteousness waiting on him in Heaven? Let’s look at the biggest failure in the Bible. We’ve seen how that Abraham was a liar and deceiver yet ends up as the father of God’s chosen people. We’ve seen how that David was an adulterous murderer yet was a man after God’s own heart. We’ve seen how that Paul was a killer of Christians, yet had a crown of righteousness waiting on him in Heaven. So who was the biggest failure of the Bible? Was it David? Was it Paul? Was it Abraham? The answer is none of these. The biggest failure in the Bible is none other than Jesus Christ Himself! He told us that the foxes have holes and the birds have nests but the Son of God has nowhere to lay His head! Think about this for a moment. God incarnate in the flesh. The Creator of the ends of the earth. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Living Water and the Bread of Life. The Living Word was right here in the flesh, yet was poorer than any other creature. Abraham left Egypt a very rich man. David was wealthy as the King of Israel. Paul had churches and saints that took care of him while on his journeys. Jesus had nothing. By man’s standards He was the biggest failure in history. I fret and worry about being able to pay for cable tv and a new truck, yet Christ literally had nothing. Even the very tomb He was buried in was borrowed.
This speaks volumes to me as it teaches me that failure is not final. It’s not even wrong to fail. If we look at each great man of we have mentioned we can see that each of them have a common denominator. They did not let their failures determine their future. Abraham is not known as a liar, but as the man of faith who was willing to sacrifice his only son to God. David is not known as an adulterer or murderer. When we think of David we typically think of the man after God’s own heart. When we think of Paul, we don’t see a man who killed God’s people. We see a man who gave it all for God. Even though Jesus had nothing on this earth, He was still God. We don’t have to let our failures in life determine our future in life. God specializes in second chances. Second chance doesn’t mean second class. Neither does the third chance, the fourth, the fifth, and so on. A hard truth for me to swallow is that I will fail. I will fall and there will be times I let God and others down. But I can stand back up! I don’t have to stay down! We all get knocked down and we all have moments of regret, but we can still move on past those moments and still do something great for God! If God forgave you of your past then forgive yourself and move on! Stop dwelling on the mess ups of yesterday and focus on the opportunities of tomorrow. God hasn’t given up on us so we shouldn’t give up on Him! I know for a fact that when it comes time for my heart to beat for the last time and for my lungs to pump the last ounce of air that I won’t be able to say that I fought the best fight. There will be things I know I could have done better. But with the help and grace of God, I want to be able to say that I fought a good fight. I want to be able to say that even though I failed multiple times, I got back up and went on to do greater things for the cause of Christ. May God help me to not let my failures determine my future!

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