WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 05, 2022
TOPIC: YOU CAN SUCCEED WHERE YOU HAVE FAILED BEFORE
BY T. O. BANSO
“So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai” (Joshua 7:4 New King James Version).
Many people are brought up and motivated to pursue success but only a few know how to handle failure that sometimes goes with the pursuit of success. When some people fail, they become devastated but when they succeed, they feel on top of the world. They are excited. But sometimes we don’t succeed at first attempts. It is not every time we achieve our goals the first time we go for them.
Therefore, while we are not preparing for failure but for success, we must know how to handle failure and move from failure to success. Failure must be seen as a stepping stone to success and not the end of the road. Because some people are not trained to handle or manage failure, they take extreme action by committing suicide when they fail. This is not the right attitude towards failure.
In Joshua 7, the Israelites went to the battle of Ai and, unfortunately, they were defeated. Joshua 7:4 says, “So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated” (verse 4a). The people of Ai killed 36 Israelites and the hearts of the people melted and became like water. This was a serious setback after the capture of Jericho.
Joshua cried to God asking why this should happen to Israel and God told him that the people had sinned and transgressed the covenant that He commanded them. They had taken some of the accursed things, lied about it, and hidden the things among their belongings. Eventually, the culprit was Achan and, after his confession, the Israelites stoned him and his family and burned their bodies.
Then God assured the Israelites of victory against the people of Ai. Joshua 8:1-2 says, “Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town’” (New Living Translation).
The Israelites did as the LORD had told them. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors and sent them out at night and gave them specific instructions. The Israelites who had set an ambush for the men of Ai, as commanded by God, defeated Ai and burnt the city. They killed 12,000 people of Ai both men and women. Only the livestock and the treasures of the town were not destroyed. The Israelites kept them as plunder for themselves, as the Lord had commanded Joshua. The Israelites succeeded where they had failed before.
Perhaps you have suffered a setback in business, ministry, academics, or career. Don’t be depressed by this. This is not your end. You can succeed where you have failed before. The people of Ai thought that they would defeat the Israelites as they had done previously. But they deluded themselves because they were not aware of the new strategy of the Israelites, which worked because God gave it to them and they had gotten rid of sin in their camp.
Also in Judges 20, the children of Israel, despite enquiring from the LORD, were defeated the first two times by the tribe of Benjamin who killed 40,000 fellow Israelites (verses 21; 24-25). But the LORD told the Israelites to go against the children of Benjamin the third time and the Israelites defeated them. The strategy for the victory was similar to that used against Ai; Israel set men in an ambush while some of them went up against the Benjamites who thought they would defeat Israel as before. But verse 35 says the children of Israel destroyed that day twenty-five thousand one hundred Benjamites who drew the sword. Israel succeeded where it had failed before.
You may have failed before but don’t see yourself as a failure. Your current failure doesn’t have to be your end if you handle it properly. You can win where you have lost before. You can succeed where you have once failed. As the Israelites did, examine yourself and find out why you failed. Sometimes this may require prayer and sometimes you may need to find out from those who should know. For example, in an internal examination, a teacher could tell a student why he failed and what he needs to do to succeed next time. Also sometimes, people who fail know what exactly they did wrong.
Whatever is responsible for your failure, have a positive attitude that it’s not the end of the road for you. Learn lessons from your failure instead of hating yourself, continuing to be inconsolable, giving up, or being suicidal. If you have sinned, repent and forsake it. If you failed because you didn’t do something you were supposed to do, ensure that, next time, you do it. If you did the wrong thing, make sure you do the right thing next time.
In 2 Samuel 6, David’s first attempt to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem failed because the ark was not carried the proper way. Therefore, tragedy struck. Uzzah was killed (verse 7). But David learnt his lessons. He later went to bring the ark the second time and ensured that it was carried the proper way (1 Chronicles 15:14-15). David did not set it on a new cart as he had done previously. Therefore, David brought the ark to Jerusalem. David succeeded where he had failed previously.
Your failure may be painful but don’t be devastated. You may grieve but you must know when you must stop grieving so that very soon you will have a testimony to share. God told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons” (New King James Version). The same Samuel who anointed Saul who failed as king also anointed David who succeeded.
Don’t give up because of a failed project, because you failed an examination, or because you didn’t succeed in a venture. This is not your end. Cry to God in prayer for help, guidance, and wisdom. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Psalm 37:5 says to commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Learn lessons from your failure. Try again except you are convinced it is not the right thing to do or you shouldn’t have done it in the first place. In that case, go and do the right thing at the right time.
Don’t let failure discourage you from trying or pursuing the right goals. You can succeed where you have failed before. Work and pray. Micah 7:8 says, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me” (New King James Version). You may have fallen but you can rise again; you can still succeed. “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16 New King James Version). Don’t lose hope. Your failure will yet turn into success.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, where I have failed previously, help me to succeed. Show me what I have done wrong or didn’t do at all that made me fail; teach me what I need to do to succeed. Turn my failure into success. Help me to arise from my fall; lift me up again. Let not my enemy rejoice over me. Father, deliver those who are depressed because of failure; let your mercy give them a turnaround.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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