Do you ever wish you could have a do-over?  You made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, some how just really messed things up, and you want nothing more than to turn back the hands of time and do it over, but differently.  I don’t know about you, but I experience this several times a day!  Of course, no matter how badly I want that do-over, I am not going to get it.  I did what I did.  Said what I said.  The mess I made is here to stay.  And I will just have to deal with the consequences the best that I can.  This imperfect life, and its constant battle with sin is so frustrating!

Have you ever noticed there are some interesting parallels between the beginning stories of Moses and Joshua?  That is because there is a do-over played out in the history of the people of Israel.  Let me show you.

Moses began his call to service when God spoke to him through the burning bush.  He was told to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3: 1-6).  Joshua had a similar experience soon after Moses died and he took over leadership of the Israelite people.  The Commander of the Lord’s army (Jesus pre-incarnate) stood before Joshua.  He told Joshua to remove his sandals because the place where he stood was holy (Joshua 5: 13-15).

Under Moses’ leadership, the Israelites left Egypt during the night after they celebrated the first Passover Feast.  Forty years later the Israelites had entered the Promised Land and celebrated the Passover Feast before beginning their conquest.  The very next day they began eating the produce of the land, and the manna stopped coming.

God used the parting of the Red Sea to instill trust in Himself and Moses (Exodus 14: 21).  Again, forty years later, God used the parting of the Jordan River to show God’s great power and to demonstrate that He was with Joshua as He was with Moses (Joshua 3: 7, 15-17; 4: 23-24).

When the people started out from Egypt with Moses, they messed up, and messed up big.  They grumbled and complained, and ultimately demonstrated that, in spite of everything they had witnessed, they did not trust God.  The consequences left them wandering in the desert for forty years, unable to receive the land promised to them by God.  But when all of those Israelites died, and only their children remained, God gave the nation a do-over.  He brought up a new leader and started him off in the presence of the holy God.  He parted the waters of a great body of water and led the Israelites from an old way of life to a new one, full of hope and promise, and the power of the Almighty God.  And God reminded the people of His faithfulness to them, past, present and future, through the Passover Feast, which marked the beginning and end of their journey to Canaan.  It was like God saying, “Okay.  You made a mess of things, but that is over and done with.  It is the past, and now is the time for a new beginning.  I’m starting you over from square one.  It’s your chance to get it right this time.”

Just like the Israelites, when we mess up, we bear the consequences.  They lost an entire generation to the wilderness.  We lose relationships, the respect of our children, opportunities to help others and do what honors God, our witness for Christ.  Sometimes the damage can be repaired.  Sometimes the consequences are permanent.  But God loves us.  He understands more fully than we do ourselves that we are not capable of living up to His standards.  And He loves us.  Did I say that already?  I’ll say it again.  GOD LOVES US!!!!  Every time we sin, He gives us the opportunity to repent; to confess and turn away from what we did wrong, and get it right the next time.  So no, we don’t get do-overs.  But thank the God of grace and mercy that we do get one chance after another, unlimited, until the day that His work in us is complete!!!