Wonder of God Meditations 31: God’s heart
Lam 3:33 “he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
So, as we conclude this series, we first pick up on that amazing thing about Manasseh that we have been considering, that despite the awfulness of his sins – which even blighted, contaminated and polluted the Land to affect the following sinful kings – God spared him, turned his heart and restored both him and the land. Amon, his son, went the same bad way, Josiah cleaned up the land again, but the following four kings failed to heed the warnings of God through Jeremiah. It was as if Israel in Manasseh’s reign had been teetering on the edge of a cliff of destruction, Amon pushed it a bit further, Josiah restrained it but the rest acted to tip it over the cliff. Yet in all that Manasseh had been saved by the grace and mercy of God. Why?
After the total destruction if Jerusalem, Jeremiah caught this truth in his spirit that we find in the midst of the anguish of Lamentations: “he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” Whether God threatens (Laodicea) or brings discipline (Manasseh), He doesn’t do it willingly. There are times when God acts as a master-surgeon. He would much rather not, but mercy and grace cry out for action to save, to redeem, to restore. It is often a painful business to bring glory.
We shy away from it so often, but God knows that the path to glory HAS to be via the Cross. Our faith is like a two-sided coin – faith and sacrifice on one side, grace and glory on the other, and God led the way with Jesus! Will we be followers as God’s grace and mercy beckons?
Let’s recap where we’ve been in this series. Jesus came to the church at Laodicea threatening that he would spew them out of his mouth because of their luke-warmness that was accompanied by spiritual blindness and an inability to discern their awful state. Yes what did he do? Offer to come and dine with them, to restore them to himself!
Then there was Naaman a harsh enemy commander who attacked Israel and took slaves. When he seeks Elisha for healing, what does God do to this pagan enemy? Heal him!
And then we came to the pinnacle of awful, godless, pagan behaviour, seen in Manasseh. And what does God do, kill him? No, simply puts the pressure on him until he repents and THEN He restores him to his role back in the land so Manasseh can restore the land. This is the same incredible grace and mercy that has saved you and me, and so as we look around, never look at anyone and think they are too bad for God. Only He knows that. They may yet become an apostle. In the meantime, rejoice in the wonder of your life brought by God’s grace and mercy, and worship Him. Amen? Amen!