“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord
because I have sinned against Him,
until He pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.”
What a game.
That was my initial response after watching the Kansas City Chiefs eke out a playoff victory over the Buffalo Bills in overtime. It was truly a game for the ages—two elite teams competing at the highest level. I would imagine that after such a hard-fought victory, the joy experienced on the part of the winning team must have been indescribable. Yet, on the other hand, the tremendous sense of failure and disappointment encountered by the team whose season had abruptly come to an end had to be a kind of pain too intense for words.
Many times, at the end of these kinds of meaningful athletic competitions, we are allowed to observe the sort of numbing effect losing has on certain players. The television camera crew is able to capture certain players sitting seemingly lifeless by themselves while chaos and celebration ensues all around them. They seem to struggle with coming to terms with the painful reality they suddenly find themselves in.
On a much more deeper and spiritual level, believers can somewhat relate to how they are feeling in those dark moments. It happens at times when we realize that some attitude or action on our part has really broken the heart of God. We can almost feel the weight of our sin and the displeasure of a loving God who desires only our good. Sadly, many genuine Christians may find themselves plunging deeper into despair. They may even allow the Enemy of our souls an opportunity to convince them that they are a hopeless case or that they never truly belonged to Christ to begin with. How do we overcome these occasional instances of failure?
We might learn from the response of the prophet Micah who found himself along with the nation Israel objects of God’s righteous displeasure.
Don’t Ignore the Reality of Your Present Condition
When a genuine believer deliberately sins, that person eventually becomes aware of the fact that the relationship with God has been ruptured in some way. We feel disoriented. We feel lost. Notice in verse 8 the Micah describes his spiritual state as sitting in darkness (verse 8). That is a very common and normal way of describing what it feels like to be out of fellowship with God. The sun in the sky can be shinning its brightest. Yet, for the believer who has sinned presumptuously against God, the world feels very cloudy and dark. As well it should.
Don’t Begrudge the Gift of Guilt
Some Christians may be under the impression that all guilt is bad. The truth of the matter is that sometimes guilt is a very good thing. It is an acknowledgement of the conscious that we are in some way out of step with God. We see the prophet here not trying to excuse his sin, but own it.
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against Him”. (Verse 9)
When you have a fever, it is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong and needs to be attended to. Guilt that comes as a result of some disobedience functions in a similar way in that it is bringing attention to the fact that there is something in our lives that we need to bring before God.
Apply the Truth of the Gospel to Your Failure
I tell believers that the work of Jesus Christ on the cross is not only God’s solution to address the matter concerning our eternal destiny, but it continues to be God’s answer for all of the journey through life, particularly when a believer experiences failure. The prophet clearly has some concept of the grace of God in that even in his state of spiritual darkness he is able to boldly assert, “When I fall, I will arise” (verse 8b). How is he able to make this assertion? Somehow he is able to see God as both the Condemner and the Justifier.
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD”. (verse 9)
“Until He pleads my case”. (verse 9c)
We cannot imagine the idea of a judge pleading the case of a guilty person. That is…until we look at the cross of Jesus Christ where we see the Judge of all the earth bearing the full force of our sin and guilt upon Himself, freeing the guilty from all charges.
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy”.
Therefore beloved Christian, when you find yourself sitting in darkness because of some bad decision you have made, no matter how far you have fallen, you can say like the prophet, “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy. For there is One who has taken upon Himself my sins and who continues to declare of me, “NOT GUILTY”!
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.