1. When weakness becomes sin
We get a firsthand look at the tragedy of this transgression in the life of Eli, the priest whose own sons strayed far from the Lord. Eli knew his sons were in sin, yet he was too weak to do anything about it. Eli ended up dying a tragic death, as did his sons, even though he had been serving Israel in the priesthood for forty years.
2. Using carnal means to obtain divine blessing
Although Jacob had been promised a blessing from the moment of birth, he used his own scheming plan to get the blessing from his brother. How tragic it is today that so many of God's people believe they can manipulate or trick God and friends into granting them their unsanctified desires.
3. Charisma without character
Samson is an example of a man who had an obvious call of God upon his life, along with unusual spiritual power. Yet, because he lacked godly character, his transgressions cost him the sight of his eyes and, eventually, his life. We learn from his sad story that impressive physical and spiritual abilities do not replace the need for inward integrity.
4. Using godly anger in an ungodly way
Moses gave us an example of this transgression. The first time the children of Israel needed water, Moses was told to strike the rock. So he struck the rock and water came. The second time they needed water, he was told to speak to the rock, but he struck it in anger. Amazingly, water still gushed forth, but because of his anger and partial obedience, he lost the privilege of going into the Promised Land. How many leaders today have frustrated the grace of God by misusing their authority in this way!
5. Embracing disillusionment
Elijah defeated the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and saw the revival fire of God descend in front of an entire nation. Yet afterward he sank into a deep depression. He succumbed to a stubborn spirit of discouragement, and although God renewed his spirit, Elijah was instructed to anoint his own replacement. So often we are tempted to entertain thoughts of discouragement and even suicide. But if we are walking in trueholiness we will not allow this negativity to rule our hearts or steal our joy in Christ.
6. The sin of presumption
Shortly after a great victory at Jericho Joshua, under God's commission to conquer the land, took his army to battle against Ai—where the Israelites were soundly defeated. Unaware of the sin that was hidden in the camp, Joshua presumed that God would grant them victory. Many people struggle with anger over an Ai experience. They don't understand why God allowed them to fail. Perhaps it was because sin was hiding in the camp, and they did not think to check their motives and desires. It does not matter how many victories you have experienced in your past. An unexplained defeat will always come back to haunt you.
7. Allowing foolishness to become sin
King Saul became a victim of his own calling because he rushed things. Unable to wait patiently for the prophet Samuel to offer the sacrifice to the Lord, King Saul took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice himself. That foolish, carnal rush triggered the rejection of his kingship and the destruction of his kingdom.
8. Failing to set boundaries
David harbored secret sin in his life. After a time, it became hidden even to himself. It took someone else, the prophet Nathan, to awaken him to the reality of his sin. Even though his sin was hidden, he still paid the consequences of that sin. During that process, he moved from unnoticed sin to conviction of sin and, finally, to genuine repentance.
9. Fatal distractions
The primary sin that destroyed Solomon's relationship with God was not sexual immorality. The main sin was this: Solomon ignored God's warning that marrying foreign women would bend his heart toward their pagan idols. As with Solomon, there are distractions in our lives that, in time, will bend our hearts toward evil. If we are not vigilant, these distractions will destroy us.
10. Serving God with reluctance
Jonah was called to preach to the city of Nineveh, but he did
xxx The Twelve Transgressions
not want to go. Through the supernatural intervention of God, Jonah was finally convinced he should go. He went from disobedience to being a reluctant servant. He went to Nineveh unwillingly. His feet were there, but his heart was not. When our hearts do not accompany our obedience, frustration will surely follow. Often we feel we are "doing God a favor" by obeying Him, but the truth is that we are dragging our feet all the way—and hindering His purpose as we complain!
11. Fearing man more than God
Peter was a man-pleaser, and his actions revealed his error. When he was with the Gentiles, he showed them acceptance. Yet when backed into a corner by religious legalists, he refused to get together with the Gentiles. He had double standards based on fear. It was hard for him to portray truth. His hypocrisy influenced others and compromised his integrity. Man-fearers become man-pleasers. If man-pleasing is allowed a place in our hearts, we will eventually stumble.
12. Refusing to give up the last idol
The last transgression always comes in the form of an idol. In the New Testament, a wealthy and successful young leader came to Jesus to inquire about eternal life. He had an impeccable religious background, yet the Lord went past his religious status and found an idol in his heart. External obedience alone will not do. We always must identify and eradicate the one area in which we refuse to follow Christ.
Each of these biblical leaders failed God in an area of obedience—just as we all have done. But as we begin to look closely at each of these transgressions, I want you to discover the keys to overcoming these transgressions so that you can experience the grace of God enabling you to live a life of holiness. By the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, you can overcome the failure of transgression and become a forerunner of revival in your community.