Finishing Well

It was almost 25 years ago when I received a phone call from one of the leaders of the church where I was the pastor. He wanted to come to my house and visit with me about something. Shortly afterwards he did come and confessed to me that he had committed what you would consider a terrible sin. This sin had significant consequences for all involved.

I prayed with the man and shared 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I gave him a book which I had just bought “Finishing Strong” by Steve Farrar. I had only read about half of the book but knew it was what this man needed to hear. As far as I know, this man lived out the rest of his life in faithful obedience to the Lord.

There are so many people in the Bible that lived out their lives totally committed to God to the very end. However, at least one along the way had a side excursion, King David. David committed adultery and murder, but when confronted by the prophet Nathan he repented.

We have King David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51:

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:1-3 NKJV).

Too many of us have begun our race of life well but as time goes on our passion for the Lord decreases. King Saul began well, but he appears not to have had the same heart for the Lord as did David. Acts 13:22, “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”

In 1 Samuel 13 we are told of how Israel was preparing to attack the Philistines. Prior to the attack an offering to the Lord needed to be made, but Samuel had not yet come to make the offering. Tired of waiting Saul made the offering himself and this is what we are told in 1 Samuel 13: “And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.”

We have David’s prayer of repentance, but where is the prayer of repentance of King Saul? David more than once repented when He knew that he had failed the Lord, and this appears to be the character that results in a man or woman after God’s own heart. In Proverbs 24:16 we are told, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” If you want to be a man or woman of God, when you fail, follow the example of King David. Confess your failure and rise up to again follow the Lord.

Of course, we do not want to finish our lives in failure, and we do not want to have any sinful side excursions either. So how do we stay strong in our faith? We must continue to take advantage of the resources of God:

Prayer: Jesus says men ought to always pray and not to lose heart.” – Luke 18:1.

The Word of God: Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Church: In Hebrews 10:24-25 we are told, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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