Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you try you are destined to fail? According to tradition, King Solomon wore a ring engraved with the words “This too shall pass.” When things were going badly, Solomon would look at it and remember not to get too anxious. And when things were going well, he would be reminded not to get too confident. The ring was a symbol of the fleeting and temporary nature of life.
In our fallen and sinful world, we can easily conclude that everything is doomed to failure. Solomon correctly observed that none of our earthly success will endure beyond the grave. Death is humanity’s “common destiny” (v. 2). Life will eventually end. Even our greatest accomplishments will one day be forgotten (vv. 5–6). If we view this present life as our primary goal, we will agree with William Shakespeare who said: “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Earthly wisdom can only advise us to enjoy life’s gifts and pleasures—such as food, marriage, and work—while we can (vv. 7–10).
We must never forget that only God gives life true meaning, and thankfully, we are in His hands (v. 1). This month, we’ll study what the Bible has to say about failure. We want to understand how God works through our personal failure and what the Bible teaches about failure and success. Then we will explore more fully God’s perspective, which is often the opposite of our own! We’ll look at sinful failure as a way to experience God’s gifts of forgiveness and hope. And finally, we’ll contrast our human weakness with God’s unfailing nature.
>> Studying failure may seem like a depressing topic. But we hope this month’s study will be a huge encouragement to you. When we better understand our human tendency to fail, we avoid pride and embrace humility. It will caution us to look at life’s meaning and success through God’s eyes.