Would you consider Moses a failure? Hardly! He was to Israel what Washington and Lincoln together were to America—and much more. But look closely at the great lawgiver's life. His career began with a murder, followed by forty years of hiding from justice.
Moses was a man of fear and unbelief. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery, he pleaded, "I am not eloquent . . . I am slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10). All his life, Moses longed to enter the Promised Land, but his failures kept him out. Even so, in Hebrews 3:1-2, God compares Moses' faithfulness to Christ's. Moses’ failures did not keep him out of God's Hall of Champions.
We usually think of Jacob as the great prayer warrior who wrestled with the angel of the Lord and prevailed. Yet this man's life was filled with glaring failure. As a youth Jacob deceived his blind father in order to steal his brother's inheritance. He despised his wife Leah while he nursed a great secret love for her sister, Rachel. He did not accept his responsibility as a husband.
Here was a man caught in a web of trickery, theft, unfaithfulness and polygamy. Nevertheless, we still worship the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.
King David, a mighty warrior and singer of psalms, delighted in the law of the Lord and posed as the righteous man who would not stand among sinners. Yet, how shocking are the weaknesses of this great man. Taking Bathsheba from her husband Uriah, he sent that unsuspecting man to death at the front lines of his army. The prophet Nathan declared that this double sin gave great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.
Picture the great king standing by the casket of his dead illegitimate child, a stolen wife at his side, and a world filled with enemies who cursed God because of his notorious sins. Yet, God called David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
If you are discouraged by your failures, I have good news for you. No one is closer to the kingdom of God than the man or woman who can look defeat in the eye, face it, and move on to a life of peace and victory. Despite failure, keep moving on! It is often after a failure that a man does his greatest work for God.