Summary: Failure is temporary. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
Falling without Failing
George Washington won the Revolutionary war and founded a nation. BUT, the
first president of the United States lost 2/3 of the battles he fought in the war.
Babe Ruth was considered one of the best baseball players of his day. He hit 714
home runs. BUT, he struck out 1,330 times.
Thomas Edison had over 1,000 inventions. BUT, he had 10,000 failures.
THREE INDIVIDUALS THAT FAILED!
The Bible is filled with hundreds of documented failures of some of the greatest
people in the Bible. I could preach for hours on the many failures they suffered
through. Don’t worry, I won’t. I’m just going to touch on 3 or 4 today and how we
can learn from their failures and how they responded to them.
The first one we’re going to look at is the author of our Scripture reading for today,
David. We all know about David. He was just a shepherd boy who was picked for
kingship over all of his brothers. He defeated the giant who had struck fear in the
hearts of everyone else. Every time David went out against an enemy, he returned in
triumph. David was the King of Israel from 1000-962 B.C. His kingdom grew over
the years with each succeeding victory. BUT, David failed when he gave in to lust
and had an affair with Bathsheba and gave orders that resulted in her husband, Uriah
the Hittite, being killed in battle.
David had had all of these great victories. He was a great king, but he was also
human. He was not perfect, therefore, and he ultimately failed at some point in his
life. When confronted of his failing, his humanity, by his court prophet Nathan,
David’s reaction was one of repentance and submission to the judgment of the Lord.
Scripture doesn’t tell us what David was feeling before being brought to task for his
deed. We don’t know if David had any sort of guilt feelings in the back of his mind
or felt any distress for what he had done.
The first three verses of our Scripture show us pattern with which we are all
familiar, a pattern David probably went through in his situation with Bathsheba.
First, we can sense that David was in great distress, but we don’t know what
troubled him. For whatever reason, he was in the “desolate pit”, the “miry bog”.
Second, he cried out to God for help. Then, Thirdly, David “waited patiently for
the Lord”, which indicates that help was a long time in coming. Fourth, God draws
him up out of the desolate pit and set his feet upon the rock. Fifth, God put a new
song in his mouth. Finally, David feels that many will come to trust the Lord when
they see how God has delivered him.
These 3 verses tell us that David expected God’s help and his patience was
rewarded. We can wait with assurance of our deliverance as well, but we must also
learn patience. Our state, just like David’s, can be changed from guilt to pardon;
from corruption to holiness. These three verses also remind me of one of my favorite
hymns, which we just sang. Did you notice the connection?
“Set my feet upon a rock.” A “rock” is a symbol of strength and stability and we are
placed on this same “rock”. “On Christ the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is
Now let’s take a look at another who “failed” - Peter. Luke 22:34 tells us that one
of Peter’s instances of failure was foretold. There, it says, Jesus answered, "I tell
you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know
me." Now knowing Peter, I am sure that he viewed this prophecy of Christ as being
silly. Peter was confident of the fact that he would not fail.
Jesus prayed for Peter but He did not pray for Peter to be delivered from this trial of
his faith. He did not ask for Peter to be delivered from the fault of overconfidence,
from the sin of pride. Jesus also did not ask that Peter would not fail. But Jesus did
ask that Peter’s faith would not fail.
Peter took some steps to overcome failure. What were they?
(1). Peter accepted his failure, for the Bible says he went outside and wept bitterly
(2). Peter knew that Jesus was praying for him - He is also praying for us - 1 John
2:1-2 tells us, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if
anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus
Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for