Failure is not final

“Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?” Psalm lx:9

God’s people are not insulated from failures. They might fail; but their failure is not final or fatal. Failure opens the door of our heart to humility, introspection, prayer, resolve and a resounding victory. For those who will not give up, failure is the secret ingredient that makes success all the more desirable and sweeter.

David’s forces had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Edom. This unexpected defeat was so traumatic on Israel’s collective psyche that David described it in terms of an earthquake that tore apart his land (v. 2). How could this happen unless God had permitted it? David saw this defeat as an act of God. Israel’s sin must have provoked God. God broke Israel’s defenses in His anger. Therefore, David sang, “You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger” (v. 3). But David turned to that very God for deliverance and success. Who else could he turn to for help? Israel desired that the very hand that injured them should shield them and give them victory. Even after a bitter defeat, David acknowledged that God had set up a banner for those who fear Him so that they might escape the enemy’s bow (v 4).

Israel did not quit. Her armies prepared to attack Edom once again. This decision was not based on a false sense of national pride or on foolhardy decisions of some General. It was based on God’s promise. “God has spoken in his holiness: ‘With exultation I will divide up Shechem …Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter. Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe …”  (v. 6-7).

God reigns above all nations. National boundaries came by no accident (v. 6). He lifts up one nation while casting down another. Even so, God’s choice of His people as his own helmet and scepter was reassuring (v. 7). A defeat was painful. But it had not annulled God’s choice and election of His people. Who would lead Israel’s armies to the fortified city of Edom a second time? Had not God rejected them? Certainly not! Reassured by this fact, David concluded his psalm with great confidence: “With God we shall do valiantly” (v. 12).

Dearly beloved, God purchased you by the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ. You are His own. You are God’s Israel through Christ. You are God’s instrument for manifesting His Kingdom in your spheres of influence. Hurt as you are after one or successive failures, do not give up. Ask yourself, “Who will lead me to the fortified city?” Human help is useless (v. 11).  If it is God who leads you, it doesn’t matter whether your objective appears to be formidable and insurmountable. Trust in the Lord and charge! Victory is yours for the glory of God.

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