The Barnabas File – Volume 4 Number 11 9/24/04

“He….encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Acts 11:23

Failure Is An Event – Not A Person!
Part 3

During Times of Failure We Must Remember The Greatness of God

Note: The greatness of God is the primary factor in ministry – it is not ministry if God is not in it!

– Psalm 145:3: “Great is the Lord…His greatness is unsearchable.”
– Daniel 3:17: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us.”
– If we do not expect the greatness of God to be exhibited in our ministries, then we
have failed and should quit. We are only weak vessels.
– God always know what we need and when we need it. Through His greatness He
met each of the needs of Moses, Elijah and Moses, but not until He had them
where He wanted them.
– He had Moses in the desert, Elijah in a cave and Jonah in the belly of a great fish.
Is that any way to treat your star players? Sign them to a contract and then put
them on the bench? Only if you are a great God at work in the lives of your own.

1. The greatness of God in the life of Moses in giving him relief – a remedy for his feeling of failure. It only took three days for Moses to go into deep depression and feel like a failure. Israel was repeating their whining and murmuring. Last time they had no water or food. This time they had food (manna) but they wanted better food. His feelings of failure surfaced because nothing seemed to please the people. They weren’t getting fed! I have heard that in church a few times! Moses felt that the weight of the whole problem was solely on his shoulders (and he left the riches of Pharaoh’s house for this?). He had lost sight of God’s promise (ex. 33:14) that His presence would go with Him, and that he would drive out the enemies from the promised land (Ex. 34:11). But, at his lowest ebb, we see the greatness of God in giving Moses just what he needed – more help! God instructed Moses to select 70 men and He would give them a portion of Moses’ spirit to assist in bearing the burden of his leadership position. Sometimes we need to take a good look at the bigger picture and be reminded that the Lord’s work is not our work alone! We might just need to look around us and involve others to help us. God gives to the church just the help that is needed, eventhough we might have to train them.

2. The greatness of God in the life of Elijah in giving him rest and refreshment. Physical and spiritual exhaustion are often pre-emptors to feelings of failure. Great victories take great strength! Mount Carmel had drained Elijah of every ounce of energy that he had. Then he ran twelve miles to Jezreel. Then he traveled some 100 miles to Beersheba where he left his servant behind and traveled yet another day’s journey into the wilderness. In all he traveled some 135-140 miles and that makes me exhausted just to think of it, especially not having our means of travel today.

3. The greatness of God in Jonah’s life – in giving him restoration to ministry and renewed desires. Every servant of God should praise Him for this gracious accommodation by the heavenly Father because we all get off track occasionally. The miracle is that God doesn’t give to us what we deserve but still wants to use us even when we don’t want to be used! The greatness of God is revealed in how He DIDN’T let Jonah die but miraculously spared his life. In Chapter one it is mentioned three times that Jonah went “out from the presence of the Lord” (vs. 3,10). Jonah not only wanted to quit, he didn’t even want to start! he insisted on dying. He pleaded with the mariners to throw him overboard because he knew he was the reason for the storm. In running from God his whole life was a spiral downwards-he went down to Joppa, down into the ship, down into the fish’s belly, and finally, down into the sea! I never cease to be amazed at the means God uses to get us back on track. It also amazes me that God only had to speak to the fish once and he obeyed – but He had to speak to Jonah twice! I see the greatness of God in several miracles that took place in Jonah’s life: (a) there was a great fish to swallow him! (b) God had the fish pointing in the right direction when he threw Jonah up! (c) Jonah was special delivered alive – either the fish was close to shore or he was a good spitter! (d) Jonah’s sermon is still the shortest sermon on record with the greatest results ever – 100%! God had put Jonah right where He wanted him and made him willing! He prayed (2:1); he renewed his vow (2:9); and he arose and went (3:3). Only a great God could do this and sometimes he does the same to us!

Next study:
– During times of failure we must not forget the purpose of our call.
– Helpful texts for desperate times.

Maynard H. Belt
State Representative
Mich. Assoc. of Regular Baptist Churches

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