Bible readings:Exodus 2 and 3; 2 Samuel 11 and 12; Matthew 26vs30-35; John 21vs15-19; Acts 9vs1-9, 13vs1-4. My life (put) alongside God's word, volume 1.
The Bible has many examples of leaders who were given more than one chance at leading in the way God wanted them to live. I am glad that my Heavenly Father has given me several. I am not one who always gets it right the first time. Without second and third chances I would have been dropped by life’s roadside long ago.
At this special time, when God is using history to present many Sudanese and South Sudanese Christian leaders with unique opportunities:
In the early stages of new countries, two years old at the time of writing this
With families and churches relocating
With circumstances revolutionised, even as you stay where you are
When the old is finishing and while there are new beginnings
Let’s see what we can learn from these four characters, in the Bible God has preserved for us.
1. Moses – a leader who had to stop doing it all his own way
After he killed an Egyptian who fought against an Israelite, Moses had to run away from the consequences, into the role of a shepherd, Exodus 2.
Then, God spoke to Moses through a miraculously burning bush, Exodus 3. With a refreshed understanding and appreciation of his God, Moses led his people through an incredibly tough journey of life.
What must we do to capture a renewed close-up experience of our God?
God gave Moses a second chance. Surely we can offer the same to ourselves, and to other people, in similar circumstances? 40 years shows that restoration can take a long time.
2. David – a leader who committed adultery and murder
2 Samuel 11 and 12 show us that even “good” King David was far from perfect. He should have been away at war when he spotted a woman he wanted to have sex with. Being king, his position allowed him to get what he wanted. God was displeased and sent His prophet Nathan to challenge David and to put him back on the way of life. He had chosen the way of death himself.
What must we confess, make restitution for, and leave behind, before God can put His hand of full blessing on us once more? Do it now.
God gave David another chance.
Surely we must work our ways to genuinely forgive and to promote pure Christian discipleship in similar circumstances?
3. Peter – a leader who denied our Lord Jesus in front of others
Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him three times before bed, in one short but eventful evening, Matthew 26:30-35. The NIV translates it “falling away” or “disowning” Jesus. When the rooster crowed, Peter was convicted of his sin, Matthew 26:74-75.
Are there times when you have taken the easy way out and not stood your ground for the Lord Jesus? It is so easy to live as a Christian in church or in a Christian environment, but what about elsewhere – outside your safety zone? Do you even bother to go there?
Jesus shows us how to deal with a repentant sinner. Read and think about John 21:15-19. Peter was re-commissioned. Now he had become a deeper, more sensitive Christian worker. He was widely used in the years ahead, Acts 2:1-14; Acts 3:1-10; Acts 5:15; Acts 10:1-48. What must we do to turn our defeat into victory for the Lord Jesus?
4. Paul – a leader who once strongly persecuted Christians
Acts 9:1-19 records his conversion to Christianity. Paul was gradually transformed by God into a successful pioneer missionary for central Asia and eastern Europe. Beginning from Antioch, in Acts 13:1-4, the first of several missionary teams were commissioned to share the gospel where it was needed. The energy Paul put into destroying the church he now invested in discipling the church, in person or by correspondence.
Are there newly converted people that we can help into soul-winning and church building through careful discipleship? Who has God sent our way? What should we be doing as an example to others?
God forgave Paul and gave him a new chance to use his skills for good instead of godless destruction and murder. We must be able to work with God in things like this. Be a Barnabas: see Acts 9:27, and chapter 2 above. Imagine what might have happened if Barnabas had said to God, “No, I won’t do it. It is too dangerous”.
Let’s have a final word from each character we have looked at -
Moses: Psalm 90:1-2, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations, From everlasting to everlasting You are God”.
David: Psalm 18:2-3, “the Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer… I call to the Lord, Who is worthy of praise”.
Paul: 2 Timothy 3:12, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”.
Peter: 2 Peter 1:16, “we were eyewitnesses of His majesty”.
It is time for us all to start again in our Christian calling.
1. Do you know of any children who have never made any mistakes while growing up?
2. In what ways does God treat us like a good father will treat his children?
3. From Exodus 3:4-6, what must we do when we realise we have made mistakes in
4. Can you think of any other Bible characters to whom God gave a second chance?
Share with the group.