It started with Eden. All of our physical needs were met in a place of perfection. And the God who loved us came to walk with us every night "in the cool of the day." But what happened? We messed it up. We listened to the one who did not love us and believed his lie.
Then God took us to a land flowing with milk and honey, the place he had promised Abraham 400 years before. And what happened? We messed it up. Even though God had shown us His power again and again—the plagues, the Passover, the Red Sea—we failed to trust that He would help us win the land.
So forty years later, God tried again. The Jordan parted. The walls of Jericho fell. And what happened? We messed it up. We failed to drive out the sin and the sinners, but took it all into our bosoms and nurtured it. Once again we discarded His perfect Plan A and drove God to Plan B, judges to deliver us when the oppression got so bad that we actually repented.
And you are saying, "What? That was them, not us." Really?
One more time God has given us the perfect place. A kingdom that cannot be shaken. A King who is King of kings, who sacrificed himself for us, and ever lives to make intercession. A place of righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit. And what happens? We mess it up. We fail to "be of the same mind," to do "nothing of faction or pride," to "each count the other as better than self" (Phil 2:2,3). We forget to "be kind, tender-hearted, and to forgive" (Eph 4:32). We certainly never "take wrong" for the good of the kingdom and its mission in this world (1 Cor 6:7). We ignore God's authority because, "God wouldn't mind if…" and "God wants us to be happy! (Col 3:17)"
Every time we misbehave in this ideal kingdom God has blessed us with, we are Eve taking a bite of the forbidden fruit, we are the 10 craven spies shaking in our boots, we are the unspiritual men who failed to drive out the pagans and their worship from the Promised Land.
But this time, we can still be part of that perfect kingdom. God is gracious and forgiving. His lovingkindness endures forever. And even in Sardis, there were …a few names…that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy (Rev 3:4). I can be one of those few, even amid a crowd of the others, and so can you.
God is giving us one more chance with his perfect kingdom, the one his Son died for and now rules over. Don't mess up again.
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (Isa 62:2-5).