New Hope Notes

Moses...Facing Failures
One Can Make A Difference

Pastor Elwin Ahu
April 29, 2007 - W0717

Failure is a universal experience cutting across all socioeconomic, gender, and racial lines.  We will all experience failure at some time during our lives but I think the hardest ones are when we set ourselves up to be successful but something happens along the way and we don’t make our goal.  We are so results-oriented that we view failure as a bad thing, sometimes even crippling to the point that it crushes our spirit but that’s not a right view.  Failure is just a part of the process, a part of success even.  It was Winston Churchill who said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.


Failure is a part of success.  Everyone fails…but only fools make the same mistakes over and over again.  You see, we will all go through failures but we must face our failures in order to learn and grow from them.  There’s a very well-known saying that goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.”


We all know that Moses was a great man of God whose actions and decisions had a great impact on life – even ours as we know it today – but it is not because he got through life flawlessly.  No.  In fact, Moses had some major failures but it is not because of his failures that we know who he is. It is because of his willingness and ability to overcome his failures that he had such a great impact on the world.


Moses was a man born into the Hebrew nation at a time when the Pharoah as trying to eliminate the Hebrews by killing all of the male Hebrews babies.  With God’s guidance, Moses was put into the river by his mother and found and adopted by Pharoah’s daughter.  She raised him knowing God as part of Pharoah’s household – Pharoah’s step grandson.  At 40 years old, Moses happened upon an Egyptian man beating up a Hebrew slave.  Moses got into a fight and ended up killing the Egyptian and burying his body in the sand.  The next day, he saw two Hebrew men fighting and when he approached them, they asked if he was going to kill them like he killed that Egyptian man.  Having made the mistake of killing a man, Moses tried to hide it by burying him in the sand but he was found out.  Then rather than deal with his mistake or failure, he decided to run away. 


Moses ran to the desert and wandered around for 40 years.  He probably wondered while he wandered.  At the age of 80, after 40 years of wandering, the Lord approached Moses as a burning bush:


“But the Lord said to him…’I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt…come now, and I will send you to Egypt.’ This Moses whom they disowned…is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer…This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea  and in the wilderness for forty years.” (Acts 7:33-36)


Imagine what Moses must’ve felt when God said He was sending him back to Egypt, back to the place of his biggest failure.


Moses had to go back to reclaim and redeem where he came from.  To finish well, he needed to go back and face his failure.  The unexamined life is not worth living because we cannot change what we don’t know.  On the other hand, if we don’t make adjustments in our lives, we’ll keep repeating our mistakes.  Today we are using the story of Moses to understand…





It is hard for us to fess up to our mistakes.  This goes back to the very beginning of time when Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit.  But just as God urged Adam to reveal himself, “Where are you?” we are urged to face our failures because…





 “After looking around to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.” (Ex. 2:12 NLT)


When we make mistakes or fail, we tend to try to hide them, deny them, rationalize them, or say, “That’s just me.”  By doing this, we aren’t taking responsibility for those flaws and it’s like we’re telling people (and God) to take it or leave it.  Well, God will leave it.  He will leave that flaw in us.


We say things like, “time heals all wounds” or “out of sight, out of mind.”  We try to sweep things away or under the rug but we’re only hiding it, not resolving it.  Sooner or later, if we don’t deal with our failures, the flaws that caused them will resurface again because…




“‘Who made you a prince or a judge over us?  Are you intending to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid, and said, ‘Surely the matter has become known.’” (Ex. 2:14) 


Hiding from your failures will provide temporary relief but it doesn’t resolve it.  I remember one time when I was following my older and his friends around and I jumped (more like fell) off the garage roof and landed flat on my stomach.  When I got up and I looked okay but I didn’t feel well.  My parents took me to the hospital, I stayed overnight for observation but they couldn’t find anything wrong with me – no broken bones or anything – so they sent me home.  Well the next day, I was still feeling lousy so my parents took me to the Queens Hospital. Again, they couldn’t really see anything wrong with me but so they decided to do exploratory surgery.  Sure enough, when they opened me up, they discovered that I had ruptured my spleen so I was bleeding internally.


That’s how it is with us sometimes:  we look good on the outside but we’re damaged on the inside and if we don’t take care of it, it can cost us our lives.


Fear of death is not the only reason to face our failures, sometime…




“Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household…Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” (2 Sam. 12:11-12)


This happened to King David.  He got Bathsheba pregnant and tried to cover it up by getting her husband to lay with her but Uria refused out of consideration of his comrades.  So David ordered his commanders to send Uria to the front lines and ensure that he was killed.  Well King David thought he had gotten away with it until the prophet Nathan rebuked him and his sin was revealed.


If there’s something going on with you related to a failure in the past, let God do exploratory surgery on you through daily devotions. “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart” Psalms 26:2.    "Search me, O God, and know my heart;  Try me... and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23.  If something is not feeling good inside, invite God in to examine, expose, clean out, and fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed.


Facing your failures not only reveals the real problem so it can be addressed, facing your failures also…





“For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces repentance without regret, leading to salvation.” (2 Cor. 7:10)


There are two kinds of sorrow you will meet in life – those that are according to the will of God and those that are not.  If it is sorrow according to the will of God, there is a lesson in it.  Catch it.  Deal with it before moving on and you will benefit from it.  However, if it is not a sorrow according to God’s will, that sorrow will lead to death.    


“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey you word…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.  The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Ps. 119:67, 71-72 NIV)


When you hit failure, aren’t you more open to God?  Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?  For instance, take my son Jared.  When he first came over from China, he was so open to letting me help him but now that he’s been here a year, when I try to help him, he says, “No, I can do it myself.”  I tell him, “But Jared, you don’t know how to do it” and he says, “I know everything.”  But then when he attempts and fails a few times, he’ll come back to me and now ask for help.  Note, it is only after he fails that he is open to my counsel.


Aren’t we the same with God?  We fight His help until we have failed miserably and only when we are out of options so we open ourselves up to Him.  And then when we do, He fixes us and makes us better than we were before. He increases our potential when we face our failures and accept His correction and counsel.  Then lastly, when we face our failures…





Our God is such an awesome God.  He is a God of Grace and a God of Second Chances.  Moses walked…no, run…away from God yet God redeemed him.  God gave him a second chance to go back and live out his assignment.  


“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharoah…And the Egyptians shall know what I am Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt…’ So Moses and Aaron did it as the Lord commanded them…And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharoah.” (Ex. 7:1, 5-7)


When Moses knew that God was going with him – that God believed in him – don’t you think that stoked his jets!


Paul writes, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).  In other words...when you live for the Living God, it gives you the strength to face your failures. 


We will all fail at something sometime in our life. That is inevitable.  However, failure does not have to be negative if you face your failure and gain what there is to be gained.  When you face your failure, you expose your flaw and leave nothing hidden to get you again.  When you face your failure and are sorrowful according to God’s will, you increase your potential for God to use you in a mighty way. And best of all, when you face your failure, it allows you to experience the power of God’s grace.



1.      How do you feel when you fail at something?  What do you typically do when that happens?

2.      Do you recall a time when you made a mistake or failed and tried to cover it up or deny it?  Why did you do that?  What happened when you did that?

3.      Have you thought that you successfully hid a failure from the world but then God made it public?  When it became known, how did you deal with it and how has that experience affected you spiritually?

4.      How does facing failures increase your potential?

5.      Tell about a time where you were extended grace or given a second chance.  How did that affect you and how has it affected that way you treat others? 


"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong with our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NLT)

 Sermon Notes Ministry: Debbie Chang, Leighton Loo,

                                                Doreen Rabaino & Jay Tsukayama