1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

JUDGES - Do Not Grieve the Lord

It can be difficult to follow God over the long haul.

Just look at the people of Israel.

They always seemed to forget God when things were going well. When they were rich, and there was peace in the land. When enemies were far away, and life was humming along "status quo."

The entire era of the judges shows what happens in God’s heart when His people repeatedly reject Him.

Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" gives us a window on that…

"But the Israelites pleaded with the LORD and said, 'We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us from our enemies.' Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the LORD. And he was grieved by their misery." (Judges 10:15-16)

I’ve read this portion of the Bible so many times. But today, that one particular phrase just jumped out at me – "And he [GOD] was grieved…"

I was so intrigued by this thought, that I looked it up in a few other translations:

"And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel."
(New King James Version)

"And God took Israel’s troubles to heart." (The Message)

"He could bear the misery of Israel no longer." (New American Standard Bible)

"Finally, there came a time when the LORD could no longer stand to see them suffer." (Contemporary English Version)

"So he felt sorry for them when he saw their suffering." (New Century Version)

This is an incredible thought to me.

That my behavior, that the state of my heart could actually AFFECT the Almighty God of the Universe! Just as a loving parent feels rejected when a child rebels, so God feels great rejection, He feels grieved, when we ignore or neglect Him.

We act just like those pesky Israelites when we go about our daily lives, focusing on them and leaving God out of the center of them.

But despite being rejected by His own people, God never failed to rescue them. He never fails to rescue us either. That was the whole point of sending His Son, Jesus – who was the Ultimate Savior. God sent His Son when we were still sinners, still in rebellion against Him.

He did it to restore our relationship with Him.

God’s love is more powerful than His wrath, and His compassion surpasses His indignation. However, God’s love does not negate His justice.

One of the translations of today’s passage says this:

"…and he became impatient over the misery of Israel."
(English Standard Version)

There comes a time when God’s patience runs out. In today’s verses, that time had come.

What’s the history behind today’s passage?

It’s interesting – and it speaks volumes to the universal condition of the human heart.

Jair is the current judge of Israel. And again, the people had slid into apostasy. As the Scriptures put it, they again "did evil in the LORD’S sight…They abandoned the LORD and no longer served him at all."


Oh, boo hoo, we’re in trouble.

The LORD, who "burned with anger against Israel," had allowed crushing oppression to come to their land. The Israelites were in great distress. THEN, they turned to the LORD – verse 10 says, "Finally, they cried out to the LORD for help…"

God told them to go to their foreign gods for help. Cry out to their idols. Let them rescue you!

Have you ever had someone say they’re sorry for the SAME thing over and over again? After awhile, you stop believing that they mean it. It rings false. How sorry can they be if their behavior never changes?

This is my other incredible thought – do I really want to test God’s patience?

It was only by ridding themselves of their foreign gods (who were powerless to help them), and by submitting themselves to the LORD’S justice, that the Israelites had any hope of rescue…

Only AFTER they put aside all other things, and returned to Him with a repentant heart – only THEN did God again act to redeem them.

I can grieve the heart of God, and I can test His patience.


And yet, He still loves me.

"The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love." (Psalm 145:8)

We should strive to stay close to God, and worship ONLY Him, rather than see how far we can go before His judgment comes…

"Come close to God, and God will come close to you." (James 4:8)

Are you following Him wholeheartedly – or are you grieving His heart?

Are you serving Him completely – or are you testing His patience?

“When in doubt, search God out.”


  1. Great post and questions at the end....
    There are times when I believe I am following Him wholeheartedly, then I catch myself...my thoughts, my heart....and I know I'm grieving His heart!
    I'm working on this, though.
    I'm also working on serving Him completely- which can be difficult....it is a constant battle between serving Him and serving myself, my family, my life, vs. how He wants me to serve Him....a work in progress! I'm just hoping that I'm following him and serving Him more and more each day!

  2. Blessings Sharon, Wonderful WORD for us! I love how you DIG into scriptures and really break them down into smaller bite size concepts: GRIEVING and PATIENCE! I have felt the Holy Spirit grieved by things around me but I think I had a dull sense when I was doing the grieving! And patience, whoa the Lord has poured out so much patience on me and I have lacked so much in my own personal dealings with those closest to me!

    Then the SUPER finish of questions to reflect and respond!

    I would quickly respond that I am follow Him MORE wholeheartedly but that quick response causes me to reflect in my mirror and the truth of how many times in my past, I have grieved Him so and myself and I'm sure others!

    When I serve God, I serve Him completely with ALL that I have, but it has taken me a while to know when to say "yes" and when to say "no" and listen to what God is asking of me and where He wants me to serve! Having a servant's heart but misusing it has taught me many lessons and to ask am I doing this for God's glory or mine and that insatiable people pleasing problem. I've surrendered that and my people pleasing days are
    numbered and thank God, a lot less than ever before... but I gotta catch myself! I guess, as sinful as I may be, I test God's patience constantly but I think it's because this is the fruit I lack the most or did so He is cultivating that in me by His great example and His love, grace and mercy! I don't think my serving and His patience have been linked but who knows? I'm so thankful He is slow to anger (another one He's teaching me) but no longer at the expense of other people loved by me. They are all grown and gone away from me, but ohhh the lessons that dogs can bring... just like Marty (and kids)!

    I know I am still a work in progress and He is my Deliverer and Rescue! He is definitely a Potter in my case, constantly throwing my lump back on the wheel to mold me!

    Surrendering today my lack of patience and anger! Thanks for the iron sharpening and calling my attention to the work I need to do in me personally or better yet allow the Spirit to transform.

    Thanks for linking up and I hope your SONday was SUPER! I'm drained and it's only Monday!

    Peace, love and JOY,

  3. Excuse my grammar errors or incomplete typing of my mind and fingers not working at the same pace... like "I am following..." :0( that always bugs me and I often delete and redo... and I'm not even a perfectionist and it still gets me...

  4. Janet - Thank you SO much for stopping by today! You are indeed a friend! How well I know the battles that we face - they sometimes seem never-ending, don't they? But I would far rather be a "work in progress" than anything else - IF the Carpenter Himself is the One working on me!!

    Peggy - Oh yes - how I identified with your comments on the "insatiable people pleasing problem." I couldn't have said it any better. I really wrestle with this one - and just when I think I've got it "under control" - it rears its ugly head in another way. Oh, to learn once and for all, that it is the Audience of One, and ONLY Him that matters. Peggy, I just loved how you said He's "constantly throwing my lump back on the wheel to mold me!" Besides making me chuckle, it was just SO true! How patient He is with our "lumpiness" - and how much He loves when we are willing to be shaped and molded. That's what I seek - the humble spirit that allows God to work...sometimes IN SPITE of myself!!
    (p.s. I didn't even NOTICE anything wrong with your comment - I read your heart, and that's all I see... :)


  5. It's amazing to realize just how much our Lord loves us. I mean, we grieve over ourselves and our circumstances when they are difficult. It's
    really, really good to be reminded of how much God grieves.

    Some people have said that a big God wouldn't care about little 'ole "us". I say, it would TAKE a big God to care about "us".

    Thank you for this ,again, thought provoking post.

  6. You know why I'm stopping by, ahem.

    This is exactly the mulberry bush that I see so many folks go round and round and...(and YES, I have been guilty too. No boney finger intended.) We try the patience of our almighty God until WE determine that we need his hands.

    I recently heard the editor of the Christian Index deliberately misquote that all familiar passage from 2 Chronicles 7.

    He said,

    ... If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray and seek my HAND...

    He waited for the congregation to catch the error. He got our attention.

  7. Shay - How very well put. YES, it takes a BIG God to care about us. I think that we sometimes forget how patient He is - how longsuffering His Love actually is. I think about the small things that I get impatient over - and I am not holy (I know - it comes as a shock, but I'm not!) A holy God who is patient with me? THAT is amazing grace!

    Debbie - It is a mulberry bush, isn't it? How often do we take for granted that He is merciful, slow to anger, compassionate? (No boney fingers here...unless they're pointing at me). That was a perfect, intentional misquote. Sometimes I get so very frustrated with my own "Israelite whining" - it's easy for me to be critical of them. After all, THEY had the presence of God with them. Well, HELLO - the presence of God lives WITHIN me. I need to stop looking for God's holy "bailout" - His hand - and start making a determined effort to seek His FACE above all else.


  8. Amen Sharon, it is a scary thing to fall into the hands of the living God, I hope that I dare not test God in any area of my life. Thank God that mercy prevails over judgement:)

  9. Toyin - Oh, I so heartily agree. A healthy "fear" of the Lord is a good thing. Thank goodness that God's merciful grace covers us! And that Jesus' blood saves us from judgment! AMEN!



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!