How To Learn From Your Failures
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17
The world remembers its own by their greatest achievement; they remember God’s own by their greatest failure. That’s the way it has been century after century. David, a man after God’s own heart” was beloved and blessed under the most devastating of circumstances. Repeatedly Saul sought to kill him so his own son, Jonathan, David’s best friend, could be king; nonetheless, God had a different plan but David’s greatest failure left a blight on his career that demonstrated his humanity.
Wrote Samuel, the prophet, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the King’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1, NIV). Read history and you will see a pattern–wars were never fought in the cold and dead of winter, but in the spring when the grass is green and food is plenteous. David’s first failure was that he stayed at home instead of leading the army of Israel against its enemies.
The text continues, “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof on the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (2 Samuel 11:2). Whoa! Let’s put this in perspective.
First, if you go back and read 2 Samuel 2 and 2 Samuel 5 you will see that right-or-wrong the culture allowed more than one wife, and David had taken at least six women to be his wife so when he looked over the ramparts and saw Bathsheba bathing, he should immediately have turned away. Instead he inquired, “Who is that woman? I’ve never noticed her before!” You know the rest of the story, no doubt.
I’m reminded of an incident that took place many years before when the Hebrew children were taking possession of Canaan. A man whose name was Achan saw a beautiful Babylonian garment, and a wedge of silver, and hid them under his tent floor. When God revealed to Joshua what had happened, Achan explained, “I saw… I coveted…. I took!” (Joshua 7:20). David could have said the same thing!
You know the rest of the story! Bathsheba came to the palace and when David was intimate with her she became pregnant with his child. This was followed by David’s engineering the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite.
Time does not allow my exegeting Psalm 51 where David poured out his heart with scalding tears begging for forgiveness, asking God to “restore…the joy of his salvation.”
Now we are hundreds of years downstream from David’s failure, yet his failure has been duplicated by vast numbers of individuals the world over who never thought about the consequences of a few moments of pleasure. Infidelity is the root cause of 85% of broken homes, hearts, and marriages.
It is true that Psalm 130 says, “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. Ponder the words of Achan: “I saw… I coveted…. I took!” God’s forgiveness does not remove the consequences of your failure!
Taking what does not belong to you can destroy the relationship you have with your husband or wife. What’s the solution? First, avoid the very appearance of evil. That means don’t allow yourself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Control your thinking or else your thinking will control you!
Resource reading: Psalm 130:1-5