God of a Second Chance

As I was driving to work the morning of January 30, 1999, I was thanking the Lord for being a God of a “second chance.”  At that, the Lord reminded me of the Scripture in His Word where He taught that we are to forgive 70 times 7.

Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)
21 Then came Peter to him, and said,
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?
till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times:
but, Until seventy times seven.

The Lord then said to me, “I do no less than what I require of you.” What a comforting and assuring word from the Lord.

As I pondered on this the next day, the Lord expounded on it even more.  He reminded me of something one of my dearest friends and sister in the Lord shared with me years earlier.  She told me how her pastor had preached a sermon one Sunday morning that upset her.  He gave the analogy that if you “missed God”, if you got out of the will of God in your life, that it was like someone going downstream on a river and getting  out of the flow of the river and into  an eddy or dead lake on the side.  He stated that when the person came out of the eddy or dead lake and got back in the flow of the river,  they could never regain what had flowed past while they were out of the flow of the river–that all of what they had missed by getting out of the flow of the river would be lost, and they would never experience this part of God’s will for their life.  This upset my friend so  much that she discussed it with her pastor afterward.  She told him that she could not receive what he had just preached, that it offended her.  She explained that if this was true, she may as well go shoot herself, for what hope was there in God if there was no other chance to do what God called her to do—that if you mess up and “miss it”, you had no chance whatsoever to recover it.

As the Lord was teaching me this, I couldn’t wait to call this friend and tell her. She was thrilled with what the Lord had shown me.  After I shared this with her and continued to ponder this, I realized that I did not know of any Scripture in the Bible to support what the Lord had shown me.  I asked Him to show me Scripture that would “back-up” what He had revealed to me.  Immediately, He reminded me of a story in His Word concerning King Hezekiah.

King Hezekiah was very sick, and God sent the prophet Isaiah to the King to tell him to get his house in order—that he was going to die.  Though Hezekiah had done some wonderful and righteous things as King, he had allowed pride to enter and he made some really bad decisions concerning God’s people.  When the prophet left the kings presence, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried out to God.  God heard the king and had mercy on him.  God then stopped Isaiah before he got out of the palace courts and had him turn around and go back to the king’s chamber and give him a message.  Here is the story.

2 Kings 20:1-11 (NASB)
1 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’ ”
2 Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying,
3 “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
5 “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.
6 “I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.””‘
7 Then Isaiah said, “Take a cake of figs.” And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
8 Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?”
9 Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?”
10 So Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps.”
11 Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

God was willing to move heaven and earth in order to give Hezekiah a “second chance” at life and as ruler of God’s people.  God literally “backed up”—caused the earth to rotate backward on its axis, the stars, the moon, the sun, and the rest of the planets to literally move backward ten degrees—just so Hezekiah could believe.  You may have heard someone say that God will move heaven and earth, well, He did just that for Hezekiah—LITERALLY!  God not only gave Hezekiah a second chance at life, He gave the king another fifteen years—years of peace from war, for God delivered Israel from the king of Assyria and GOD defended Jerusalem for HIS OWN SAKE.  King Hezekiah was not only healed, but was at rest for the last fifteen years of his life.  I find it noteworthy that in Biblical Mathematics, the number 15 (the number of years of peace and rest God gave King Hezekiah), represents REST.

God “backed up” his Word to Hezekiah when he “backed up” the sun.  And God “backed up” what He had spoken to me about being a God of forgiveness and of a second chance by showing me this in Scripture.  When you think you’ve messed up and  feel there is no hope of recovery and forgiveness, remember what God’s WORD says concerning it.  Though He is  Almighty God and doesn’t have to put up with our failures, His desire is to reconcile mankind to Himself.

Psalms 103:8-14 (KJV)
8 The LORD
is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

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