Summary: Even when we blow it, God is willing togive us a second chance if we repent.
A Second Chance God
Have you ever tried something and failed really bad at it? Failure is rarely a reason to give up and quit. We just finished listening to a zillion campaign commercials. Among the candidates who lost are candidates who will one day become great political figures. Among the candidates who won, are many who lost several times before they finally were elected.
Let me tell you of one candidate you know about. Imagine, how easy it would have been for this young man to have bowed his head and given up. He failed in business in ’31, he was defeated for the legislature in ’32, he was elected to the legislature in ’34. His sweetheart died in ’35, he had a nervous breakdown in ’36, he was defeated for speaker in ’38, he was defeated for elector in ’40, he was defeated for Congress in ’43, he was elected to Congress in ’46, defeated for Congress in ’48, defeated for Senate in ’50, defeated for vice president in ’56 and for Senate in ’58. But fortunately he was elected president in 1860. His name was Abraham Lincoln. He proves that failure need not be permanent.
We like to think that success is based on one victory after another, but even in the sports world, we know that simply is not true. Hank Aaron, the African American who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, struck out more times than 99% of the players who make it to the major league. Yet we do not remember him for the strike outs, just the home runs. He was of the belief after each strike out, if I just get another chance, I’ll hit a home run.
Everybody who finds their way to Jesus Christ, comes with the realization somewhere along the line, they failed miserably in their relationship to God. They come to God, not with a bold list of demands, but in a humble spirit in need of a second chance. I do not fully understand where we got the image of God being an old angry man with a long beard ready to zap us from out of space for each error we make, but it did not come from the Bible.
For the bible informs me that our God is a Second chance God. He took a murderer by the name of Moses, and turn him into a great national and spiritual leader. He took a liar and deceiver by the name of Jacob, and made him the cornerstone of a nation. He took an adulterer and murderer like David, and used him to write many of the Psalms to strengthen and encourage the people of God. He took a woman who had been married and divorced five times and was now living with a sixth man and turned her into the first evangelist to go into Samaria. He took some of us, who know what we were, and turned us into to what we are becoming today.
In our Old Testament reading, we met King Manassah. Manassah had the opportunity to have the greatest impact on the nation of Judah because hew was the longest reigning king. He ruled for 55 years. His father had been a king who loved the Lord and did a lot in leading the nation back to serving God.
As soon as Manassah got the opportunity, he undid everything his father had spiritually tried to do for the nation. Manassah spent most of his 55 years doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. He worshiped idols, tried talking to dead people through witches and sorcerers, he sacrificed his sons as human offerings to idols, he put to death innocent people who challenged what he was doing. The account of Manassah in 2 Kings tells us he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. Tradition tells us he had the prophet Isaiah sawn in half.
Manassah was full of pride. He did not have to answer to anyone. He did not apologize to anyone for anything he did. He could care less about God. But one day, God decided enough was enough. God sent the King of Assyria to invade Jerusalem. Manassah was captured, and they put a hook in his nose and chains on his hands and feet and led him away as though he was some wild animal.
This former king was thrown into some Assyrian prison. All the riches and power of which he had boasted now meant absolutely nothing. None of the many idols he had made and created could do much to help him. His situation was hopeless, and he was helpless.
How many Manassah’s are with us today, who are just waiting for some circumstance in life to come and humble them. Oh you may be on top now, and the future may look bright, and you see no need of God in your life. But God is going to send an Assyrian king into your life, because God hates pride and he will bring down all those who are proud of heart. But God’s purpose in humbling us, is to bring us to our senses that we might make a change.