When We Fail

March 6, 2018

“He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness…”  (Psalm 23:3)

Failure is one of the most feared and dreaded experiences in life. The fear of failure drives millions of people every day, all day long. There are many ways to fail. We can fail in our work, in our marriage, and as parents. We can fail personally by feeling we’re not living up to our expectations and our potential. We can fail morally.

When we fail what do we do about it?

The third verse of Psalm 23 gives us a prescription for failure. David knew what it was to fail. When he needed restoration he tells us how his Shepherd restored him when he wrote: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.”  David had already written that his Shepherd leads him to still waters. The Hebrew word for ‘lead’ he uses the second time means his Shepherd ‘drives’ him into the paths of righteousness.

David is telling us here that when we need restoration we should not seek a cheap or easy one. Rehabilitation means “to invest again with dignity.” He was implying that his restoration was a matter of being driven into the paths of righteousness for some time – perhaps even for years. His Shepherd used those paths of righteousness to restore David’s soul and give him an opportunity to invest again with dignity.

By application, when you fail and need restoration don’t seek a cheap or an easy one. Let the great Shepherd lead you into the paths of righteousness that will truly restore your soul.

Dick Woodward, 28 March 2009


GOD’S MERCY, MERCY, MERCY, MERCY, MERCY!

August 25, 2017

“Surely Your goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)

Mercy is the unconditional love of God. This beautiful word is found three hundred and sixty-six times in the Bible. Perhaps God wants us to know we need unconditional love, every day of the year (even Leap Year!) Many people think we don’t hear about the mercy of God in the Bible until we get to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. However, two hundred and eighty references to God’s mercy are found in the Old Testament.

My favorite Old Testament mercy reference is found in the last verse of the Twenty-third Psalm. David ends his greatest Psalm with the declaration that he is positively certain the mercy of God will follow him all the days of his life. The Hebrew word he uses here for “follow” is a word that can also be translated “pursue.”  David brings the most profound and eloquent description of the relationship between God and man to a conclusion by making the declaration that the unconditional love of God will pursue him all the days of his life. By application, this is true for any of us who confess our sins.

There are so many ways to fail. When we understand the meaning of the mercy of God, however, we should realize that we cannot possibly out-fail God’s mercy. As I place my failures on a scale, I like to place all those times mercy is used in the Bible on the scale opposite my failures. I invite you to do the same thing, no matter how horrible you think your sins are.

Dick Woodward, 28 August 2012


A Beautiful Word

August 28, 2012

“Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6 NLT)

Mercy is the unconditional love of God.  This beautiful word is found three hundred and sixty-six times in the Bible.  (Perhaps God wants us to know we need His unconditional love, every day of the year – and He even covers Leap Year!)  Many people think we don’t hear about the mercy of God in the Bible until we get to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.  However, two hundred and eighty of these references to the mercy of God are found in the Old Testament.

My favorite Old Testament reference to the mercy of God is found in the last verse of the Twenty-third Psalm.  David ends his greatest Psalm with the declaration that he is positively certain the mercy of God will follow him all the days of his life. The Hebrew word he uses here for “follow” is a word that can also be translated “pursue.”  David brings the most profound and eloquent description of the relationship between God and man ever written to a conclusion by making the declaration that the unconditional love of God will pursue him all the days of his life.  By application, this is true for any of us who will confess our sins.

There are so many ways to fail.  When we understand the meaning of the mercy of God, however, we should realize that we cannot possibly out-fail His mercy.  As I place my failures on a scale, I like to place all those times the Bible uses the word “mercy” on the scale opposite my failures.  I invite you to do the same thing no matter how horrible you think your sins are.