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Failing Without Falling

March 23, 2011

It’s inevitable that we will all fail the Lord, even as his children. So then . . .

What kind of faith do you have? Does failure drive you away from God, or does it drive you back to square one, back to where you started, back to the altar, the place of sacrifice, so that you can call on the name of the Lord? The builders of the Tower of Babel made no room for offering sacrifices to God and calling on the name of the Lord. Their motto was “In man we trust.” For that reason, when their building project fell apart, so did they. They had no means of dealing with failure. There was no room in their hearts for repentance, and consequently their religiosity could not survive the exposure of their own inadequacy. When the Lord judged them, they were scattered. But in Abram’s case, failure was followed by repentance and a return to God. And so it is with all who have true faith. As the psalmist put it:  “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Ps. 37:23).

Good people, people of faith, fail just as others do. The difference is that when they fail, they do not fall, because they return to the Lord in repentance, calling on his name and seeking forgiveness.

Iain M. Duguid, Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality: The Gospel According to Abraham, 31.

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