In I Samuel 12, the people of Israel had “messed up” by asking God for a king so that they could be like the other nations. God made it clear to them that they had indeed sinned against Him, which they confessed, and they asked Samuel to intercede for them. He assured them that they would not be destroyed, but still had the opportunity to follow the Lord. He reinforces this in :22, where he says: “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” Samuel assures the people that God will not abandon them, and, significantly, the promise is not based on their faithfulness — but on HIS! HE has chosen them to be a people for Himself, and HE will be faithful as their God. The fact that they will be restored is based on the very character and faithfulness of God Himself, and not on anything good in themselves.
The same thing is true for us as well.
When we have “messed up”, our hope of restoration with God is not based on how good we have been (thank God, for we have NOT been good!) or even on how good we might promise to be! Our hope is built on the faithfulness of the Person of God. He will be faithful to His promise, for faithfulness is an essential part of His very nature. Deuteronomy 32:4 says He is “A God of faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” II Tim. 2:13 says: “Though we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
Some years ago, when our youngest son (now 14) was a toddler, our family went to a baseball game in Arlington, Texas. It turned out that our tickets were way up high in the “nosebleed” section, and we were VERY uncomfortable climbing up to our seats. I was carrying Michael, and I instinctively told him, “Hold on!” And he clutched my shirt with his little hands. But his safety did not depend upon how tightly he held on to me — but on how tightly I held on to HIM with my arms.
Thank God that it is the same way with us! The security of our relationship with God does not depend upon how faithful we are to Him, but on how faithful HE is to us, just as II Timothy 2:13 makes clear. Thus, when we’ve “messed up” — and we will — let us remember that our forgiveness is not dependent upon any good quality in us, but in the faithfulness that is an inherent and unchangeable part of the very nature of God Himself. He WILL forgive you — not because YOU are good and faithful, but because HE is. Be confident that your forgiveness and restoration is as certain as the very character of God!
Tomorrow in part VI of “When You’ve Messed Up” we will look at a very sobering reminder that God gives to us when we “mess up” and call on His grace.