Many people misconstrue the mindset of the God of Israel, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without ever studying the Bible in depth, they conclude that He is the “God of finality.” Things are immediately over for you with Him if you mess up even one time. The thinking is that you only get one opportunity to be right with Him.
That would be an awful situation if it were true, because we mess up a lot! We make many errors in judgment. We commit many sins.
Consider the following Bible praise of God: “Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God has directed toward me. How great are His signs! How great are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.”
The words (Daniel 4) come from Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire. The man messed up when he tried to deify himself. He messed up with his utter arrogance. He messed up when he made some horrible decisions.
But, God worked to dramatically lead the man to have a dynamic start-over with God. Nebuchadnezzar was clearly excited and grateful for this start-over granted by God. Before giving the account of it, Nebuchadnezzar burst out into pointed praise.
First, he declared about God, “How great are His signs!”
Biblically, signs are open manifestations of God’s will as He makes known His work in human affairs. God’s signs are always in complete and exact harmony with His Word. For example, the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ was a sign God gave through Prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before that blessed event. It stands as a supreme example of Scriptural correctness concerning the use of signs from God.
Second, Nebuchadnezzar stated, “And how mighty are His wonders!” As it concerns God, a wonder is something that occurs in which one understands it can only be of God. As one considers eternal ramifications, the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ stand out as wonders of God.
But, concerning the effects of these signs and wonders experienced by Nebuchadnezzar, there are at least two spiritual spin-offs, which also led the man to have a start-over with God.
One involves the convicting power of God. Nebuchadnezzar was simply amazed at the powerful manner of conviction God worked in his life. According to the Biblical account, it took seven years of spiritual conviction before the man yielded.
The convicting power of God involves that internal stirring in our heart and mind making clear where we are wrong. But, conviction is not final condemnation. Conviction is a confirmation for us that God is willing for us to start over with Him. Conviction is a beneficent action on God’s part. Do not shy away from it.
The second spiritual spin-off involves the powerful presence of God. Nebuchadnezzar saw first-hand the presence of God when he had those three Hebrew boys thrown into the fiery furnace. He saw the very presence of God in the midst of the fire walking with that faithful trio.
Once again, the wonder of God’s grace becomes evident when we sense His presence with us manifested in a timely manner. Sensing His presence is never by accident, but rather according to His providence at work in our lives.
The heart of God is to bring each of us into proper fellowship with Him, not because He is patronizing, but because He knows it is for our benefit. Life is too much of a gift for us to bind it up in messes, failures, and disappointments. Because He loves us, He graciously works to uniquely bring us into satisfying fellowship with Him.
“Who is a God like unto you that pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will turn again. He will have compassion on us. He will subdue our iniquities. And, you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
That rather confirms start-over possibilities.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.