How can God restore people like King David who was a murderer and adulterer, or Peter who denied Jesus three times and even cursed, or Jonah who simply ran away from God?
If you’ve fallen into disgrace, it’s not the end of the world, unless you stay there. Remember Peter’s denial of Christ.
H edidn’t just fail once, but three times! Three times Peter denied Jesus, even going so far as to curse so that he’d seem like he
couldn’t be one of Jesus’ disciples. I could use my own life as an example of being a disgrace, but then disgrace can lead to
God’s grace, and that’s what it did for me, but also for the Apostle Peter who denied Jesus three times. There was Peter; cursing
on the last occasion to prove he wasn’t a follower of Christ. Enter the Lord Jesus Christ, appearing to Peter, and Peter was broken.
By the way, don’t be too hard on Peter. The other disciples had abandoned Jesus long before this.
Only John stayed, but that was to care for Jesus’ mother, so Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him; three times in fact. Perhaps once for every time He denied Jesus.
Peter would go on to boldly preach one of the greatest sermons in the New Testament church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Peter’s denial wasn’t his last chapter. His failure was not final. Jesus restored to Him the right hand of fellowship. He forgave Him.
The last chapter, church tradition holds, was where Peter died for the glory of God, being crucified upside down on a cross. Peter felt
unworthy to die in the same way that our Lord died on the cross. Peter fell into disgrace, but he showed repentance and remorse, and Jesus, knowing Peter’s heart,
forgave him. If you’ve fallen into disgrace, remember the Apostle Peter who was restored; if you’ve fallen from grace, God can
uphold your hand; and failure is never final unless you make it final.
King David sat upon the throne during the height of the nation Israel’s power and territory. Israel had never achieved, and
would never again reach the influence that Israel had when David reigned. Shortly after King Solomon’s reign, the kingdom began to erode until it finally split into two kingdoms
(Israel and Judah). Before that split, and while David still ruled Israel, David lusted
after another man’s wife and took her for himself, thus committing adultery. After the
woman became pregnant, David conspired to have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed, and so he compounds his sin by committing adultery and then murder as he orders Israel’s commander Joab, to make sure
Uriah is killed (2nd Sam 11:5-17). David and Bathsheba lose their child, but God forgives David and he is later called, “A man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).
The Prophet Jonah
The Prophet Jonah found out that there’s nowhere to run or hide from God’s presence,
so when God sends a great fish to swallow Jonah, Jonah sees it as the end, but think about this; if not for the great fish, Jonah would have drown in the sea. His life would
have been over. As far as Jonah thought, he was sure he was going to die, however God had other plans. The great fish releases Jonah after three days and nights to go and
witness to Nineveh, even though Nineveh was one of Israel’s greatest enemies. God was making a point that He is the God of all
nations and He will be their God if they repent and believe. By the way, repentance and belief is the same message of the gospel Jesus brought when He began His
earthly ministry (Mark 1:15). Nineveh did repent due to Jonah’s preaching, but he pouted about it. Thankfully, for Nineveh,
Jonah’s disgrace in the sea was not his final chapter, or Nineveh would have never repented.
Of course, Jesus never failed, but today we have the luxury of looking back at the cross and seeing why Jesus needed to die for our
sins, but the first century Jew was looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Roman occupiers and take back their nation.
There were a few times where Jesus had to withdraw Himself because they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their king, but Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. It is
a heavenly kingdom, so the Jewish crowds who just a week earlier received Him in glory, shouting, “Hosanna in the Highest
Heaven” (Matt 21:9), would the very next week, shout, “Crucify him, crucify him” (Mark 15:13). One week it was “Hail Him, Hail Him,”
but the next week it was “Nail Him, Nail Him.” They saw Jesus as a failure as the Messiah they had envisioned. To the world,
it looked like He failed miserably as the Messiah, but not knowing the secret counsel of God, much good came from this evil act of men (Gen 50:20; Isaiah 53; John 3:16).
The cross wasn’t the final chapter; it was really just the beginning.
It’s not a matter of if we fall, but when we fall, and when we fall, we don’t need to stay there.
We can get back up, dust ourselves off, and try again. Let Solomon’s wise advice come to your mind when you’ve fallen from grace
as he wrote that “the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Prov 24:16),
so think about this. Even “though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:24). God’s got your back and will be there when you fall
(again!). Take heart. He is ready and willing to restore you to His grace.
If you are like me and have failed or fallen into disgrace, it’s not the end. We know that
God is a God of restoration and redemption, and reconciliation. He is not going to give up on us. Don’t let disgrace be the last chapter of your life, but let that chapter be the one
that leads to the next great thing you could do in your life for the glory of God. Failure is never final unless you make it final. Everyone fails, and most of us have tasted
what it’s like to be disgraced, but let disgrace cause you to reach for God’s grace. When our disgrace is big, God’s grace is even bigger.
I should know; I’ve been there, but the point is, I didn’t stay there, and I pray you don’t either.
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