Jdg 10:16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
Our verse today comes from another instance where Israel had forsaken God, worshipping other gods and living incredibly sinful lives. Through God’s providence, those enemies they loved became the very ones to oppress and enslave them. Much like sin in our lives, the very sins we love and forsake God for are the very ones that pierce us through, and then what we forsook God to enjoy, in the end, we call on God to deliver us from.
Israel had called on the Lord to once again rescue them but had received a harsh reply from the Lord, “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Now it is only 2 verses later and we see that God’s “soul is grieved for their misery. What a loving God we serve, that he although angry with their sins and mode of life, is also very apparently grieved by the hurt it has brought upon them.
I was reminded of those hard lessons I had to learn as a child, when I was warned about the wood stove but went on and touched it anyway. My parents had warned me, and I had disobeyed and yet they did not jubilate when I was burned but were grieved that I was hurt, and even though it was me who was responsible for the hurt they still cared for and comforted me.
So it is with our heavenly father, that the whole world is in sin and being tossed about by its throws, and yet Christ loved us “while we were yet sinners.” God did not send his Son to a world that was ready to receive him but ready to kill him. This whole world was nothing but a mass of sin and God hated it but his heart was grieved by the misery that we sinners were in. Thank God He is love, and he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Psalm 145:8-9 reveals something about the heart of God,” The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” That particular phrase that I was reminded of as I read Judges this morning was “his tender mercies are over all his works.” Not even God’s judgment is without mercy. Thank God that he deals with us according to his faithfulness and not ours, his compassion, not ours. Imagine if God treated us as we have treated our enemies, imagine if God kept promises like we have. What a terrible world we would live in, but His tender mercies are over all his works. When I deserved hell he gave me heaven, when I held grudges he forgave, when I walked away he brought me back. He is not weak nor effeminate but he is Love and his mercies are from everlasting to everlasting.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation as Israel, always running after what God has delivered you from time after time? Make no buts about it, God is sorely displeased, and you will have to repent as did Israel but his heart is grieved for the misery you are in, although it is a misery you have brought upon yourself. He hates the pain your sins have caused you, He is hurt because of your hurt and he will bind up the wounds that sin has made, he will set you on his own beast and give you rest and food as much as needed. “His tender mercies are over all his works.”