There are not many things in life we get to do over. There is one sure thing we can only do once in our life, and that is doing anything for the first time. And then, there are some things that can only be done once, and that’s it. Perhaps, that is why second chances are so inviting. When we’ve ‘blown it’ by making a hasty decision, taking a bad course of action, or just straight out, making a foolish choice . . . even in the face of illness or death, second chances never sounded so good.
What comes to mind for me, right off the top, is the story of King Yechizqiyahu (Hezekiah/Yahuah Strengthens) in the Tanach. His is truly a story of second chances, a story of sickness and miraculous recovery, which I personally can relate to. He was a righteous king. He did great and wonderful things in the Most High’s name. And then, he became ill with a boil, unto death.
The story of his recovery can be found in Malachim – Aleph (1 Kings) 20:1-21. Yah granted him 15 more years, but in the onset, he became prideful. It is written . . . But Yechizqiyahu rendered not according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up; therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Yahudah (Judah) and Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) . . .
The rest is history, and a not so great one. It’s rather tragic for the Hebrew people, although Yechizqiyahu was spared. For, the Babylonian pillage did not transpire during his reign, as he humbled himself. (For further study, read Davari Hayamim – Aleph (1 Chronicles) 32:1-33, and YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 38:1-22.
I also think of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, who was, in telling, a servant of the Most High, (YermeYahu – Jeremiah 27:6) chosen to carryout the punishment of Yahudah by taking the Hebrews into captivity, because of their disobedience. If you are familiar with his personal story in the scroll of Danie’l, how he was made to live as a beast in the fields for seven years (because of his pride), and then was raised up again by Yah (mind you, greater than he was before), because, once again, he humbled himself. His story and his prayer (a must read!) is a powerful witness and a reminder to all about man’s pride.
Are you seeing it? The correlation . . . second chances . . . pride . . . humility? That says a lot when given a second chance and what the outcome could pose to be. Let’s dive in a little deeper.
In the ‘Book of Second Chances’, the (First) Scroll of Ezra, there are actually two separate stories of recovery that can be found here: Chapters 1-6, is the story of Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel and their return (around 536 BCE) ; and, Chapters 7-10 (nearly 80 years later) is a story of Ezra’s return. (It is believed that Ezra is the gifted scribe who compiled all the books of the Tanach, and so his name became attached to the scroll of both stories).
Enter ‘Cyrus the Great’ (King of Persia) who wrote the edicts of return for the Hebrews and a host of other nations, allowing them all to return to their homeland, respectfully. More specifically, the Hebrews returned to Yerushalayim to rebuild the Temple under the leadership of NechemYahu (Nehemiah).
Ezra is a book of yet, more history of Yah’s people, the chosen to bring ‘Light to the Nations’. The same Hebrews who, through their rebellion and disobedience, through their punishments, and the Most High’s every mercy and grace, failed to turn back to Yah, to keep his commandments, and to honor him . . . until one day, once again, they woke-up enslaved. And mind you, we keep missing it, even unto this day.
This is a story of a people and their failure. This is a story of a second chance. A chance of recovery. (A second coming.) I encourage you to read the book and get the learning. You will find the stories present you with a model (which I will outline here) to help you govern your own life, and prayerfully, help you choose wisely for yourself in the light of a second chance, whatever it might be.
(From the first Story of Return, Ezra Chapters 1 through 6)
What are the signs of a second chance? How do you know when the Most High is giving you a second chance? Well, if you don’t know that Yah is at work in your life in the first place, you’ll miss it. You’ll never be ready for a second chance until you realize the Most High is in control.
- Be prepared. You have to know the Most High is still working in your life. He always has been. (Perhaps you just haven’t been listening.) Recognize it and respond properly.
- Remember, Yah uses unregenerate and carnal men to do his work. Yah never has a loss of options. He can use anyone and anything. He can move through people that don’t even know he is using them. Like, King Cyrus of Persia, they might think they are wielding their wand for their own plans and benefit, but they are actually setting the stage for the movement of Yah and his glory. (Hmmm . . . Think about it . . . )
- Understand, support is part of the process. You must do what you can. Actively engage or provide material support to make things happen. We must ‘show up’ and support what Yah is doing our your lives. This is part of the process.
- There will be leaders and followers. It is important to understand, the Most High is going to stir up the leaders for active support before he commits all of the followers. Know who you are.
- After you have done all that you can do, and continue in it, expect Yah to supply what you can not.
- Yah knows what is his. Put a people in a foreign land, strip them of their name, their culture, their history, even their memory of such . . . the Most High knows what belongs to him, and he has each one numbered. Know who you belong to.
Every second chance is a change of life. You need the right people around you to support you.
- Assemble your team. Know their skill level. You must surround yourself with knowledgeable and spiritually-minded people . . . leaders, mentors, encouragers, servant-hearted people—people who love you, in spite of who you are. (I mean, we all have our challenges.)
- Realize, some people will change their minds, they might not always finish with you. There will be drop-outs. Let them be who they are.
- You will need supporters who are all on the same page as you.
- And, there will always be some people who think they should be leading—and they shouldn’t. They might think they have a better way of doing things, but if they were not called by the Most High to do it . . . (yeah).
- Examine well the people that line up to lead. Make sure they have the requisite qualifications that Yah desires. Just because someone wants to help you out, doesn’t mean you should allow them.
The Enemy’s Attack
Tricks of the enemy (Ha Shatan). When you are moving forward in your life, that is when the enemy shows up. He’s been doing this forever because it works on most people, most of the time. Be aware.
- Have the heart to do what Yah is calling you to do. Commit. Do not waiver.
- In the attack, know you will get laughed at and talked about.
- There will be those who will try to beguile and deceive you with their false intentions, pretending to aid you.
- The enemy will try to discourage and distract you to keep you from doing what you’re supposed to do.
- The enemy will try to hack you, slow you down and cause you to compromise yourself.
- The enemy will put out disinformation and false projections to deter others from seeing your true intent.
- The enemy can effectively cause frustrating and long delays: However, delays allow Yah to answer, to equip, and to correct you–Yes! So, don’t lose your vision. Be still, but be ready.
When the enemy puts a stop to Yah’s work, Yah takes action.
His reminder: Wake-up! Do what I told you to do! Get busy. Get back. Return unto me! The outcome is always up to Yah. The Most High does not promise you a ‘rose garden’ of opportunity. There will be storms. But know, he is your greatest answer.
(From the Return and Reform of Ezra, Chapters 7 through 10)
The value of a good family is helpful, but more than your family, your choices will determine where and how far you are going to go. Maybe, the first time you attempted something, you were doing it for your own name-sake, or solely for financial gain. In a second chance, you must understand that all you do and accomplish is for the Glory of Yah! (He will edify and bless you, greatly). There is no substitute for doing the work of Yah, and there is an order to it:
- Consult Yah’s word.
- Practice it.
- Then, Talk it (teach it).
The honey-moon stage of coming into Yah’s truth, being awakened, after so many, many years of being deceived . . . I understand, who wouldn’t want to shout it out at every turn and from every mountain top. However, we must study his word. Meditate on it. Learn the truth so you may have voice, and more importantly, so you may give answer.
So many have fallen upon the battlefield because they weren’t well-equipped with truth. So many people go in reverse . . . talking and trying to teach first. Imagine someone trying to tell you the will that Yah has for your life, when they don’t even know the will Yah has in their own life.
Set your heart right. Be skilled and work hard at what you do. You can be the most skilled person, but if the Most High is not at work in your life, it will show. And, don’t do anything until you get yourself on path (and the right people working for and with you).
Yah works In Us, then Through Us, and For Us. Therefore, in a time of crisis, don’t just react to the problem. The Most High set up a standard for his chosen people. The world can make up a standard for whatever they want to do. But for us, those who are in a covenant relationship, we are to consult him first and foremost.
More specifically, for the story of the Hebrews . . . Throughout time, we have been unfaithful and forsook the commandments. (Yah has requited us less than our iniquity deserves.) There is great promise of our recovery and a casting-off of our shame. Ha Mashiach will return. We will be gathered from the four corners of the Earth.
And, there will be a sifting. Each of us must embrace our guilt. But know, sobbing to him about how wrong and guilty we are does not mean anything, unless we plan . . . to change . . . our direction. We must take responsibility and humble ourselves.
I encourage you to read (and listen!) to the Book of Ezra in the Tanach, as well as the ‘hidden scroll’ in the Apocrypha which covers our past, present and future. (It’s powerful!) Get it into your spirit. For, nothing in this life will get fixed if the Most High’s principles are put aside.
So now, what are YOU going to do with your second chances?
Thank you for reading! May you seek YAH and follow Ha Mashiach. Shalom.