The third time isn’t always a charm.
If there is one thing that parents learn from their children it is how to say no to constant requests for the same thing. My kids are no different than I was when I was a kid. In the world of a child, no means no only after it is said at least a half-dozen times. With my boys it is generally a constant desire for more dessert or some other food. It is as if they are born with an ingrown desire to test out the “third time is a charm” maxim. Somewhere deep down they believe that if they ask enough times we will wear down or the answer will somehow miraculously change. Generally it doesn’t change and generally the third time actually makes things worse.
The third time isn’t generally a charm. The third time often just reaps the same result, or even a worse result. In sports like baseball, when someone gets the third strike at the ball they are out. This same concept comes into play in some states with regard to laws. If you break the law three times you will incur a steeper penalty. If I touch an electric fence two times and each time I get shocked, why would I think I would not get shocked on the third time? Yet, so many people live like this.
We live in a world where truth is not upheld or appreciated. Truth becomes something that is in the eye of each individual. The thought is that if you don’t like something you can just wait a little while and it will change. I remember my oldest son telling me one time he didn’t like that the red light means stop and green means go. He told me that he wanted red to mean go. Of course, that cannot happen. But, in a world of relativism, we tell people to believe whatever they want. Yet at some level we all agree that there needs to be some standard and no wavering in it.
God does not change and His Word endures. This means that no matter how many times someone reads the Bible or how many times the culture will change on any issue, the truth is still the truth. God’s answer is always the same answer. The winds of the culture blow and people like certain things better than other things. Does that make them right? If I ask God two times and I get the same answer, do I really think the third time with be the supposed charm? It can’t be! God’s Word is truth and that means that it is good right now. It is, in this sense, a charm the first time.
There is a story in 2 Kings 1 about Ahaziah, the king of Samaria, who had fallen and injured himself severely. He then sends messengers to consult a false god, Baal, to see if he will recover. God sends Elijah to intercept these messengers and tell the king that he will die as a result of his seeking information from false gods. Of course, Ahaziah does not appreciate the news and sends two other messengers, a total of three, to ask again. Yet, each time the answer was the same. God has pronounced His judgement and His mind would not change.
“So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.” 1 Kings 1:17
God’s Word is always true and we do well to listen to it. I know it is hard to live in truth, but truth is always true the first time. God’s Word blesses and equips, but only if we take the time to read and apply in the first place.