Today’s devotion is based on Sunday’s Message: Grace Relents (LISTEN HERE).
“Here, try again.”
In golf we call it a “mulligan”…a “do-over.” In life we call it a “second chance.”
Mistakes are easy to come by and often we wish we had a second chance, but don’t get one. Ask the person who glanced at their phone and had an auto accident…I wish I could do it over. Ask the person who chose to not study for a test and missed passing by one point…I wish I could do it over. Ask the person who had one too many drinks and ended up in jail for DUI…I wish I could do it over.
Getting a second chance is a gift of grace. Life doesn’t always afford a second chance, but God’s grace does.
God gives Jonah a second chance. His first call sent him in the opposite direction of Nineveh, the cause of a violent storm, and a drowning experience in the sea.
The second chance began with God sending a great fish who preserved Jonah’s life, but then was confirmed in this way:
Jonah 3:1-2 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah didn’t waste the second chance.
Jonah 3:3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days.
God certainly would have had every right to dismiss Jonah and move on to another prophet. He could have banished Jonah from doing his work for running in the opposite direction.
But the grace of God gives a second chance…to Jonah…and to us.
The reality is he’s given us third chances, fourth chances, three thousand and fifty-sixth chances.
In the Fifth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we recognize our need for more chances, but that we don’t deserve them:
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.
Even as we recognize that God has every right NOT to give us a second chance when we sin, it is very much in his nature to do so:
Exodus 34:5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
The opening of Jonah 3 is a powerful phrase…”The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a SECOND time…”
Never forget the grace of God is willing to give second chances to you, just as he did to Jonah.
Apply: Where has the Lord in his grace given you a second chance? How did you respond to another opportunity to obey and and walk with the Lord?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for having a heart of grace that is willing to give me second chances when I know in my sin I don’t deserve them. AMEN.