Thank God For A Second Chance
So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
We often think of Moses as the great leader of Israel who led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. We imagine him at the burning bush, and we think of him standing at the Red Sea when God parted it for the people to pass to the other side. Moses was one of the greatest leaders in the world has ever known, but that’s only half the story.
We need to remember that the events we know so well happened after a tragic sin and many years of desolation. Moses had murdered an Egyptian(Exodus 2: 11-13). His motive may have been to help his people, but murder is murder. God sent him to the backside of nowhere for forty long, dusty, lonely years. During all that time, how many times did Moses think of giving up? How often did he think his life was over? Did he despair that his life would never have meaning again?
But God gave him a second chance. It didn’t come when Moses wanted or expected it, but when it came, he responded. Even then, his response wasn’t perfect. He hesitated, doubting his ability to do what God told him to do, but still, he chose to obey and move forward.
Many of us have blown it in a big way, either at work or at home, publicly or privately. We’ve experienced the consequences of our sins, and we feel like we’ve been exiled to a foreign land. Will we ever have a second chance? God is amazingly gracious. We don’t deserve a second chance, but He gives it- and maybe a third and fourth, too. We may wait for a long time, but when it comes, we need to be ready to respond.
Other people and things may stop you temporarily. You are the only one who can do it permanently.
In both baseball and the legal system, we give three strikes before someone is out. But many of us wonder whether God will even give us a second, much less three or four. Some of us have experienced being written off after a single failure by those whom we thought really loved us. We reason that if imperfect people are so quick to give up on us, how will a perfect, holy God view our failures. It’s even more difficult for Christians especially when they know better but don’t do better. We are the most harsh judges of ourselves. We often forget that God who gave us grace as sinners still knows us and all there is about us and when a prodigal child chooses to return home, He throws a party instead of a prison.
Most of us read and are intrigued by success stories. We love to read about those who rose above their circumstances and built a life of success. We aren’t too interested in reading about those who fail and falter unless we are those people who take satisfaction in the misfortunes of others. We often compare ourselves for others and frequently decide that we don’t quite measure up. We feel like a “C” student in a class of honor students.
The beauty of the story of the Bible is the marvelous grace and mercy of God who allows us to start again. We may not always escape the consequences of our sins and failures but we can find forgiveness, grace to begin again, and hope and help from the One who comes alongside. When Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden, God didn’t abandon them. Even when their fear of the penalty of death caused them to hide from God, He came looking for them, not to offer them justice but grace. While they would suffer consequences, they lived by the grace and mercy of God- second chances.
When Abraham refused to acknowledge Sarah as his wife, not once but twice, God intervened and eventually blessed him with the promised son and descendants as numerous as the sand and the stars.
When David sinned, God didn’t remove consequences but He gave David grace and through his lineage, Christ descended and one day will rule on David’s throne.
When Peter denied Christ and went back to his old life of fishing, Christ sought him out. Oh, Peter had to confess his love for Christ, but God chose Him to open the doors of the church on the Day of Pentecost.
We could bill Him as the “God of Second Chances,” but truth is He’s the God of multiple chances as most of us can testify.
So today, if you’ve blown it- no matter how bad- if you won’t throw up your hands in defeat, God will give you that next chance. Guilt and shame are powerful, but they are no match for the love and grace of God. As long as you’re still breathing, God will give you another chance. Many people fear that they have sinned the unpardonable sin, but truth is the only sin that’s unpardonable is the one we refuse to repent of. When Jesus spoke of the unpardonable sin, He was speaking to those who refused to recognize that He had been appointed by God and the miracle had been wrought by the Holy Spirit and not by Satan. If you will acknowledge that the cross has broken the power of sin and the blood of Jesus has the power to cleanse you of your sin, then you will be given that next chance. You may say,”What if I blow it again?” Run to the cross. Confess your sin to Christ and repent of it. Ask His forgiveness and submit to His cleansing and in the end you will end up being exactly where God has planned you to be.
Dr. John Thompson