"And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." - Proverbs 5:12-14 KJV
I am looking at the Hebrew here in this verse and a good translation could be, 'I was a small distance away from losing everything in the assembled group.'
I could just quote the whole chapter. Proverbs chapter 5 is so good. But the idea of being close to utter ruin is what is impressed upon me this morning.
"For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" - Psalm 27:10-14 ESV
We need a level path or we might just go off the road.
I don't think being close to losing everything is a bad thing. Sometimes being reduced down to just life itself is the best thing that can happen to a person.
"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' " - Hebrews 13:5 ESV
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." - Proverbs 18:24 ESV
"The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.' " - Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV
It is there in that place that God shows Himself to be real. We may have hated the instruction we got before but now we look at what was given to us with a value system that has been transformed by reduction.
I think people get bad instruction and the hate the instruction they received in the 'assembled group' because it was stern and impersonal. There was no grace (or little grace). Maybe the people giving the instruction were to much of a contradiction to be believed. Then there are others that get great instruction from humble loving people. They are told that God's favor is freely given. They are loved and nurtured but they just won't receive what is being served up and seem to need to go away before they can come back.
Grace teaches us that once we have God we can't lose Him. Jesus is the only reason we have Him. The conditions of unconditional love were met in the person of Jesus Christ. We can't mess that up. We can mess a lot of things up so that we are left within inches of complete ruin... but not that.
"The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." - Deuteronomy 33:27a ESV
When you know God there is every possibility that what we think is the end is only the beginning. God wants to use our close call to propel us higher than we have ever been before.
Isn't it God who gets the glory when that happens! Yes. Ultimately it is.