Summary: We all fail. But God does not cast us away when we fail. This sermon talks about what we can do about our failure and how God treats us failures.
Jan. 14, 2001 Deuteronomy 30:1-10
“Finding new hope!”
The prize for the most useless weapon of all times goes to the Russians. They invented the “dog mine.” The plan was to train the dogs to associate food with the undersides of tanks, in the hope that they would run hungrily beneath advancing Panzer divisions. Bombs were then strapped to the dog’s backs . . . Unfortunately, the dogs associated food solely with the Russian tanks. The plan was begun with the first day of the Russian involvement in World War II . . . and abandoned on day two. The dogs with bombs on their backs forced an entire Soviet division to retreat. – Charles Swindoll, Growing strong in the Seasons of Life.
Stephen Pile has written a book titled The Book of Failures. It’s got unbelievable stuff in it. Like that time back in 1978 during the fireman’s strike in England. It made possible one of the greatest animal rescue attempts of all time. Valiantly, the British Army had taken over emergency firefighting. On Jan 14, they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to rescue her cat. They arrived with impressive haste, very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away. But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea. Driving off later with fond farewells and warm waving of arms, they ran over her cat and killed it. – Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life
Last week, I asked how many of you had made new year’s resolutions for 2001. Only one person raised their hand. When I asked why none of the others had, you responded that there was no point in making them. You’ve made them before and failed to keep them, so what was the point in going through that whole process of trying and failing all over again? Probably all of us can look back over the past year and remember failures that we have experienced. Maybe you set out at the beginning of the year to lose a few pounds – take a few inches off your waist. From the looks of things, most of you failed. Some people have tried to salvage a marriage and failed. Other people have tried to get a better job, learn a new skill, get rid of a bad habit, establish some new patterns, make a killing on the stock market . . . and failed. I watched an interview with Bill Gates this week. In 2000, he lost 50 billion dollars on the stoke market. Oh, to have 50 billion dollars to lose! Some of the people that I have tried to lead to the Lord have refused to follow. I failed! There are times that no matter how hard you try and no matter how much you pray, things just don’t turn out the way that you would have liked them to.
What do you do when you fail? No one likes to fail. We avoid it as much as possible. How do you respond to failure? Do you get mad, blame other people, get depressed, quit trying? A more important question than how do you respond to your failure is how does God respond to your failure?
That’s the question that Moses answers in Deut. 30. Let’s read verses 1-10.
1. God knows that you are going to fail. (vs. 1-2)
God knew the history of Israel – failure!
Most all of you have had a job at some time or another. When you applied for that job, you had to list references and former employers on your application or resume. What your new employer was trying to do was to establish a history for you. They want to know what kind of a worker you are. They want to know if you fulfill your obligations, if you show up on time, if you get along with other employees, and if you stick it out for the long haul. They want to know if you listen to and respond well to authority. Imagine if you were God and you were checking out the references – the history of Israel – trying to decide if this was going to be a worthy people or not. As you checked out their references, you discovered that they were complainers. You discovered that when things weren’t going according to their plan, they took matters into their own hands. You found out that when life got rough, and the pay check didn’t come as quickly as they thought or too much fed. tax and something called F.I.C.A. was withheld from their paycheck, they had been known to take up rocks to kill former employers. Would you want them to represent you on earth as your chosen people? I don’t think so!