God has blessed Cheryl & I with some pretty good kids. People are always complimenting us on them, and saying what great parents we must be, but I can tell you for certain that we did not get the kind of kids we deserved; God was very gracious to us. But as good as our kids are, they were not at all perfect; there were times when they “messed up.” On a couple of those occasions, they were too afraid to tell me what had happened, and they would leave me a note — one infamous time, our daughter Libby actually slipped me a note under the door!
Those times often made me wonder, was I so harsh and unapproachable that my own kids couldn’t just come and talk to me? I’ve decided that the answer is “no”, but rather that is what sin does to us. It makes us feel ashamed, and once Satan gets ahold of it, he uses it to torture and accuse our conscience, and make us feel like we can’t come to people we know and love — or even approach God. But the truth is, that just like I wasn’t angry with my kids; I loved them, and just wanted them to learn and grow through the situation, and certainly didn’t want their “mess up” to keep us separated forever, neither does God. If you have “messed up” spiritually, the devil is going to do everything he can to accuse you, and to tell you that it is over for you spiritually, that you can never be right with God again, and you shouldn’t even try to fix things. And unfortunately, a lot of people believe his lies. But the Bible shows us otherwise.
I want us to spend some time with a passage of scripture that deals with a group of people who “messed up” — and what God told them to do about it. This week the daily devotions at shawnethomas.com will take a different tack: instead of being from varied scriptures each day, they will follow one particular passage all week: I Samuel 12:17-15, and will address one theme: “When You’ve Messed Up.”
The context of the passage is that in Chapter 8 the people of Israel had asked God for a king. This was displeasing to Samuel, but God told him in :7 “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them.” We see in :5 that one of their motives for wanting a king was they wanted to be “like all the nations.” Then in Chapter 12, when Saul is confirmed as king over Israel, Samuel reminds them of their sin against God. They had “messed up.” Now what was going to happen?
Each of us finds ourselves in the same situation when we “mess up.” Whether we realize it or not, we are at a very important crossroads. Our lives can take one of two courses as a result of our sin: we can repent of our sin and re-establish our relationship with God, or we can continue in a path of rebellion against Him which will lead to destruction as a result.
What specifically needs to happen when we have “messed up”? It doesn’t have to be “the end” for our spiritual life. God is a gracious God, and a God of second chances. But there are some things we need to realize about ourselves and God, and some steps we need to take, in order for that to happen. We will look at the first of these specific things in tomorrow’s segment.