The Great Comeback (Proverbs 24:16)
Proverbs 24:16, For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
The story is told that Andrew Jackson's boyhood friends just couldn't understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson's friends said, "Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now." Another friend responded, "How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn't they usually say three times and out?" "Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat—he would never stay 'throwed.' Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner." Picking up on that idea, someone has said, "The thing that counts is not how many times you are 'throwed,' but whether you are willing to stay 'throwed.'"
My favorite cereal is Honey Nut Cheerios. I like Honey Nut Cheerios not only because it tastes good. I also like it because you can’t sink the Cheerio. No matter how many times you attempt to sink it. It keeps resurfacing to the top. This reminds me of Proverbs 24:16. The Christian life is a battle. Scripture often speaks of God’s children as soldiers, and we should not expect to have things always be calm and peaceful. You’re not defeated by getting knocked down in life, you only defeated when you refuse to get back up. The righteous may fall, but they will get back up. The question is not whether we ever fail, but whether we get back up when we do. You cannot be defeated by the enemy; you can only lose by giving up. Don’t let defeats or setbacks discourage you. Instead, commit yourself to standing firm and not giving up no matter how tough things get.
Failure is not final with God. God is willing to give those who fail a second chance to serve Him. Many of God’s best servants experienced some failure in their lives. Those who came back to God were given another great work to do. Samson (Judges 16:19-30). Elijah (I Kings 19:1-4). Peter (John 18:15-27). Mark (Acts 15:36-41). Proverbs 24:16 give us hope. Seven is a number that signifies completeness. The Word of God tells us the righteous will fall and get back up again. A lot of people fall down and don’t want to get back up. Many of them do not. Many of them grow tired of falling down and they choose to stay down. Don’t give up. Comebacks are challenging, but they are also rewarding and necessary for spiritual maturity that we can grow in Christ. As in sports, one can view it in their service for the Lord. Look at it like you are a runner on the last leg of the race, a boxer in the final round, in football in the fourth quarter, the ninth inning in baseball, don’t give up. It’s not if you get knocked down that makes you a failure; it’s whether you choose to get back up and finish what you‘ve started that will determine that.
Prayer: Father, it’s so obvious that I am quite an ordinary sinner when I look at my life. It’s comforting and convicting to know that godly people can fall so far, and yet, You never give up on us. Help me to see areas of my life where I am prone to fall. Forgive me when I do and help me get back in line with Your will for my life. Never let me lose my sense of dependence on You. Keep me pressing on as I follow in Your Son’s steps, realizing it is Your plan to use my time here to grow me into someone more and more like Him. Your will be done, Father, in Jesus’ name, amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.