Failure's Success

“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4  

Have you ever made a bad choice where once you made it, its as if a light came on and you find yourself in the worst possible place, maybe even a life threatening place at that. If so, just know that you aren’t alone. In Psalm 34 David is on the run, hiding from Israel’s first King, Saul and his army who are out searching to kill him. The good news for David, God is about to deliver him from the very dumb decision he made. What was David’s dumb decision you might be thinking. David got a bright idea that he would go to the city of Gath, thinking Saul would never look for him there. The Philistines were the sworn enemies of Israel so David must have thought it would be the perfect place to hide as it was the last place Saul would look for him.

The problem for David became apparent once he arrived and there was no turning back. The city was sinful, its people were sinful, everything about the place was dark and ugly in how the people talked and acted and David’s eyes were immediately open, he had messed up. David comes walking into town with Goliath’s sword strapped to his side, a trophy from battle. This wasn’t just any old sword mind you, it had belonged to a giant of a man at 6’9” tall and the people would immediately recognize it as belonging to Goliath.

David had killed Goliath, their hometown hero just a couple of years earlier so the wound was still fresh in the minds of the people of Gath as was the song, Saul has killed his 1000’s and David his 10,000’s. It was still a hit song throughout Israel which would have incensed the Philistines for the simple fact that the 10,000’s that David killed were all Philistines and now here he is in the flesh, all alone standing before them seeking refuge in their midst. Reading David’s story might bring some comfort today thinking, “I have done some pretty stupid stuff in my life but not this stupid.”

What could David do? David decided that he would pretend madness before King Abimelech, the king of Gath. David acted like he had gone mad and was allowing the saliva to run down his beard all over himself and then he began to scratch and claw on the gate of the city so that all those who saw him believed that this crazy man who is out of his mind couldn’t be King David of Israel. King Abimelech had enough deranged people around him and he said he didn’t need one more in the city so they opened the gate and put David out of town.

David knew immediately that it wasn’t his embarrassing plan that had saved himself, he knew that it was God Himself who delivered Him out of the hands of his enemies even though what David had done was a really dumb thing, something that had not been well thought out. We have all been there a time or two in life. We make a rash decision in the heat of the moment that has lasting consequences. I don’t know about you loved one, but I have made more that I would like to admit but thank God for His amazing grace. Each time I’ve messed up and cried out to God He has delivered me from all of my fears.

It’s in these moments we learn “Failures Success”. Failures Success is when we make a poor choice in life, one where if the Lord doesn’t intervene and deliver us somehow, we are going to pay the price maybe the ultimate one. God for no other reason than that He is good all the time, rescues us. We know it immediately that our lives have been spared. What do we do now. How does our failure become a success. It’s simpler then you might think.

Learn the lesson of the failure. Understand how you got to that place to begin with. Understand God tempts no man or woman to sin just so He can deliver us. God’s choice is that we follow Him. David messed up and is at a very low point in his life. He feels like a “nowhere man” with no friend in the world and it was there at his lowest point that he discovers God there with him, and so David cries out to God for help. Yes, David strayed from the path and learned the way of sin is hard and yet he also learned in that same moment that God is our Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine and seeks after the one. David immediately sets out to celebrate the faithfulness of God openly and publicly. David wants everybody to know God is good. Worship we find is contagious!  

So how do you and learn the lesson of Successful Failure. Take it from someone who knows. Learn the lesson. Understand what bad choices you made to begin with and determine in your heart the next time you are faced with a similar circumstance to cry out to God first not last. Let prayer become the thing we do first in seeking the will of God and not the last thing we do needing the deliverance of God. God knows we all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. It’s not your perfection or mine that saves us, it’s His.

Successful Failure is ours each time we fail and get back up and turn to God not away from Him. David was being mistreated by the children of Israel, his very own people and in it he lost his focus. He ran right back into the enemies camp. When we fail there is something in us that is telling us to quit, to give up, to turn back to our old way of life. Successful failure happens when we face moments like that and we decide by faith right then and there to never run back to Gath, to never run to the world to escape mistreatment from among God’s people. Run to God. He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you!  Cry out to God and allow Him to rescue you!

David learned in psalm 34 what all of us must learn at some point in life along the way. “Many lessons of faith are learned in the dark.” Failure isn’t final, loved one, and the devil doesn’t win and he for sure doesn’t get the last word, hope does. If you have failed, fess up and then get up, turn to God and put your trust in Him. Only God can take our failures and make them into our success!

“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

Psalm 34:18-19


Michael Osthimer





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