Make Your Mistakes Work For You!

And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon–the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite–heard about it, that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord. But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.  And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”

Joshua 9.1-6

Have you ever made a mistake?  In Joshua 9, we saw that the Jews made a huge mistake in their dealings with the Gibeonites!  Remember, the Gibeonites had tricked the Jews by dressing up in old clothes and sandals and bringing old dry, moldy bread and worn-out wineskins.  They used all this as ‘evidence’ that they came from a far country, and thus the Israelites should make a peace treaty with them because they were not the enemy from the Promised Land.  What a bunch of lies!

And the Israelites fell for this trick because they ‘took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD’ (Josh 9.14)!  And imagine how foolish the Israelites must have felt afterwards, when they found out they had been duped by the Gibeonites into making a monumental error!

Yet, the story doesn’t end here.  Even though they made a mistake, they didn’t allow that mistake to stop them.  Read the last verse of the chapter – ‘And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, in the place which He would choose, even to this day’ (Josh 9.27).  See what they did!?!  They made their ‘mistakes’ work for them!  The Gibeonites became woodcutters and water-carriers for the Jews!  They learned from their mistakes and turned it into something useful.

Perhaps that speaks to you – you’ve been taken off guard by the enemy.  He has tricked you into making a mistake and now you don’t know what to do.  Or perhaps the mistake was of your own doing – simply bad decision making.  Ask God to use your mistakes for your good.   For ‘we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Rom 8.28).  Our mistakes are not mistakes in God’s plan – they are opportunities to see God’s sovereignty and power at work!

Alexander Whyte writes – ‘No matter what mistakes we may make, the worst mistake of all is not to try again; for the victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings’.

So don’t make the mistake of not trying again.  That’s what the enemy wants – for you to give up, to walk away in defeat.  Instead, learn from the mistake and put it to work for you!  And continue walking in faith with God!