The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

A God Who Hurts and Rejoices

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 27, 2011

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)

What a wonderful record of the beautiful heart of God!  In the face of sin and rebellion, He is more than just angry, wrathful or vengeful. He is grieved in His heart. It hurts Him. In longsuffering, He waits, giving a space to repent (I Pet. 3:20) In light of the first commandment to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, I think it very good to meditate on the fact that God has a heart that is made to feel sorrow by our sins.

Because God exercises such amazing self-control, and is longsuffering and merciful toward us, we tend to forget that God hurts.

He testified that he was grieved forty long years with the generation of Israelites He had rescued from Egypt (Psa. 95:10). Later, when new generations of Israelites had fallen away, He gave these stirring testimonies:

Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Amos 2:13

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  Isa 1:14

I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols. Ezek 6:9

God felt pressed, weary, and broken because of the sins of His people! Yet all this time, He was patiently working out His great salvation for those who would repent and seek Him wholeheartedly. What amazing love and goodness!  Is He not worthy of our returned love? Should we not repent of grieving His heart, of wearying Him, of causing His brokenness by our whoring after the idols that only ruin us?

The same God who is capable of feeling intense grief, is also capable of ecstatic and appropriate joy when we repent.  He is the self-less Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to find one that wandered away, and when He finds him, he lays him on His broad shoulders rejoicing. And He is like the woman who seeks diligently to find her one lost coin, and afterwards celebrates with friends. Likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:4-10). He is the father who runs to his returning son, still stained by the muck of the pig-pen. How eagerly He clothes his repentant son with the best robe and receives him back into the family! Not only that, he declares that it is fitting to make merry and be glad, for the son who was dead in sin is alive again, and the son who was lost is found at last.

Sinner, won’t you leave off wounding the great and passionate heart of God with your sins today? Won’t you stop crucifying the Son of God afresh? Won’t you come to your senses and stop sinning? Won’t you return to the Father–admitting you deserve nothing,  but willing to serve–and cause rejoicing in the presence of the angels?  Is He not worthy?

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