The Failures & Falls of God’s Children

Micah 7:8, 9; Psalm 37:24; Proverbs 24:16
       When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him.
       Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
       A just man man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Though one and the same scourge is a judgment to wicked folks, it is a trial to the righteous. And though He delights not in punishing His own, yet He delights to have them tried, that their faith may be found unto praise at the appearing of Christ (I Peter 1:7).

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): The lives of good men are full of narrow escapes. The righteous are scarcely saved. Many a time their feet do almost slip.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Many have thought it strange when they read of the most noteworthy of Biblical saints failing in the very graces which were their strongest. Abraham is outstanding for his faith, being called “the father of all them that believe,” Romans 4:11; yet his faith broke down in Egypt when he lied to Pharaoh about his wife. We are told that, “Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth,” Numbers 12:3, yet he was debarred from entering Canaan because he lost his temper and spoke unadvisedly with his lips. John was the apostle of love, yet in a fit of intolerance he and his brother James wanted to call down fire from Heaven to destroy the Samaritans, for which the Saviour rebuked them, Luke 9:54,55.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Elijah [failed] in his courage—for one woman scared him away to that juniper-tree, I Kings 19:2-4; and Peter, whose strong point was boldness, was so frightened by a maid as to deny his Lord.

A. W. PINK: Yet let it be pointed out that the failures of these men are not recorded in Scripture for us to hide behind, as though we may use them to excuse our own infidelities. Far from it: they are set before us as so many danger signals for us to take note of, as solemn warnings for us to heed. The reading thereof should humble us, making us more distrustful of ourselves. They should impress upon our hearts the fact that our strength is found alone in the Lord, and that without Him we can do nothing. They should be translated into earnest prayer that the workings of pride and self-sufficiency may be subdued within us. They should cause us to cry constantly, “Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe,” Psalm 119:117…Concerning Hezekiah we read that “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart,” II Chronicles 32:31. None of us knows how weak he is till God withdraws His upholding grace―as He did with Peter―and we are left to ourselves.

WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): We are all good until we are tried.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): I am tempted to think that I am now an established Christian, that I have overcome this or that lust so long that I have got into the habit of the opposite grace, so that there is no fear; I may venture very near the temptation, nearer than other men. This is a lie of Satan. I might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit a power of resisting fire, so as not to catch the spark. As long as powder is wet it resists the spark, but when it becomes dry it is ready to explode at the first touch. As long as the Spirit dwells in my heart, He deadens me to sin, so that if lawfully called through temptation I may reckon upon God carrying me through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like dry gunpowder.

A. W. PINK: The moment the Lord leaves us to ourselves―to try us, to show us what we are―a fall is certain.

THOMAS ALEXANDER (circa 1861): A loving mother chooses a fitting place, and a fitting time, to let her little child fall; it is learning to walk, it is getting over confident, it may come to a dangerous place, and if possessed of all this confidence, may fall and destroy itself. So she permits it to fall at such a place, and in such a way as that it may be hurt, wholesomely hurt, but not dangerously so. It has now lost its confidence, and clings all the more fondly and trustingly to the strong hand that is able to hold up all its goings.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): A great deal may learned from a little fall.

A. W. PINK: God permits His people to experience falls along the road for various reasons, yet in every instance the outward fall is preceded by some failure or other on our part, and if we are to reap the full benefit from recorded sins such as Abraham, David, Elijah and Peter, we need to study attentively what led up to and was the occasion of them. This is generally done with Peter’s case, yet rarely so with the others.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): We are ready to reckon up our trials, but are we equally so to keep account of the sins which draw them down upon us?

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Men may fall by sin, but cannot raise up themselves without the help of grace.

A. W. PINK: True, the Lord has plainly told us that “without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. We think we believe that word, and in a way we do; yet there is a vast difference between not calling into question a verse in Scripture, and assenting to its verity, and an inward acquaintance with the same in our own personal history. It is one thing to believe that I am without strength or wisdom, it as another to know it through actual experience. Nor is this, as a rule, obtained through a single episode, any more than a nail is generally driven in securely by one blow of the hammer. No, we have to learn, and re-learn, so stupid are we. The Truth of God has to be burned into us in the fiery furnace of affliction. Yet this ought not to be so, and would not be so if we paid more heed to these Old Testament warnings furnished in the biographies of the saints of yore.

WILLIAM JENKYN (1613–1685): The best way never to fall is ever to fear.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: Yet, He, who has redeemed them, will not let them so fall that they can rise no more.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Often I fall and am lifted up again by God’s right hand.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): The life of faith is little more than a series of falls and restorations, error, and correction; displaying, on the one hand, the sad weakness of man, and on the other, the grace and power of God. This is abundantly exemplified in the life of David.


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