In working through my current Bible plan, I’ve just finished the book of Deuteronomy. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it can be a bit of a tough one to slog through.
My mom explained the book of Deuteronomy to me as “Moses’ Farewell Address” and she was spot on. In many ways, the book can almost read as completely repetitive as Moses recounts all their journeying, the laws they were given, and his admonishments to follow them carefully. But that’s just the point. Moses has to tell the Israelites what to do so many times because they got it so completely wrong so many times.
Every time I read the old testament I lose track of how many times the Israelites completely panic and go off the rails. It feels like it happens every other chapter. God performs these amazing miracles to bring them out of slavery, provide for them in the wilderness, and defeat their enemies and the Israelites can't keep it together for two minutes. Here’s a people set apart by God himself, and they are complete and utter screwups. There’s just no way to put it nicely. They are disasters.
So am I. So are you.
There's no escaping it. Just two seconds running back the reel of my life is more than enough to convince me of what a hopeless disaster I am. I've been a liar, a coward, a traitor, and everything else I find myself cringing at the Israelites for. A logical progression of the old testament and our own lives would end with being told: "I've had it with you. You're not worth it anymore. I don't want you." And maybe some of us have heard those stinging words thrown at us from our fellow man, but God chooses a different answer.
I can recite the points of the gospel backward and forwards and then books like Deuteronomy suddenly slam me with the practical reality of God's love in ways that shake me all over again. God completely defies how we would treat each other in favor of loving us. In a situation where he could easily wipe the Israelites off the face of the earth, he uses Moses to show the Israelites what they should be doing one more time. It’s this kind of mindboggling, steady patience from God that reminds me once again of how he views us in light of our mistakes.
God is not running a tally of your mistakes and measuring if you make one too many. Nor is he surprised when your mistakes come. He knew all of them long before you made them and still called you. The mistakes you make throughout your life don’t throw God for a second. They may break his heart, but not his plan. He still sent his Son. He still calls you his own.
It’s a reminder of exactly who God sent his son to die for. Jesus didn't hang suffering on the cross for your best version of yourself, all polished and scrubbed up with the skeletons neatly tucked away in the closet. He hung there and died for the stumbling, disastrous, mistake-ridden scrap who just can't seem to get it right no matter how many times you try. Because you are worth it to him at your absolute worst.
You are worth more than your mistakes.
Now, will there be consequences for our mistakes? Absolutely. It's a painful reality but a true one. Our mistakes do harm and we will see and feel that throughout the course of our lives. I don’t need to tell you that. Just contemplating this subject is likely more than enough to bring those hurts surging back. It’s painful, devastating even, and we should just ignore the consequences of our mistakes. The difference is that with Jesus’ death and resurrection, God completely rewrote the outcome.
The believer lives in the glorious promise that while our mistakes come with an absolutely huge price tag, someone who loves us very dearly picked up the bill.
So with that in mind, we are able to live our lives with incredible purpose despite our shortcomings and mistakes. God’s love will outweigh them every time without fail. He has a plan that isn’t slowed down by his creation’s stumblings for a second. So live big, and live well, for we follow a God of fresh beginnings.
Let’s find some joy,