Love That Outweighs Wrath
Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord.
And he was grieved by their misery.
Judges 10:16 (NLT)
Go Deep: When you read the book of Judges, you quickly discover a pattern—a sad one. It’s not limited to Judges—it’s the same cycle in the history of God’s people from creation to the present day. In a nutshell, it is concisely illustrated in Judges 6:6-10, and it goes something like this:
God calls a people unto himself and blesses their obedience to his ways; God’s people wander from their calling and pursue gratification outside of God’s law; God sends warning after warning of the disastrous consequences of disobedience; God’s people continue in their rebellion; disaster strikes; the people repent; God relents and restores.
It would be so much easier if we would just stay under the umbrella of God’s blessing through our loving obedience, wouldn’t it? And yet we don’t. As the old hymn points out, we’re “prone to wander from the God we love”. And how it grieves his heart when we do. It grieves him that we would spurn his love—and the blessings that flow to us for our loving obedience—to swallow the sweet poison of the world’s enticements. It grieves him that we would ignore the plentiful warnings, both throughout Scripture as well as through the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, to plunge knowingly into that which invites Divine judgment—the direct judgment of his punitive anger and the more familiar judgment of the consequences of going our own way.
God is a just God, and sin brings his justice. But God’s redemptive love is more powerful than his righteous wrath! That is not to lessen or negate the consequences of sin—the law of sowing and reaping is a universal law—but what we observe in the history of God’s dealing with his people is that his compassion outweighs his indignation…when there is repentance. Notice the interaction between God and his people in this section of Judges 10:
God: “You have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” (Judges 10:13-14)
Israel: “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. (Judges 10:15-16a)
God: And the Lord could bear Israel’s misery no longer. (Judges 10:16b)
Again I say, how about we skip the rebellion and it’s consequences by staying under the umbrella of blessing by loving and obeying the God who loves us.
Just Saying… Dutch Anabaptist reformer Menno Simons wrote in a letter, “Wherever there is a pulverized and penitent heart, there grace also is, and wherever there is a voluntary confession not gained by pressure, there love covereth a multitude of sins.”