Monday, July 11, 2011

The Heart of God Is a Crazy Love for His People

Do you know the cycles of the book of Judges in the Bible?  God's people sin, God becomes angry and allows the surrounding nations to crush and oppress them, the people repent and turn to God, God relents and sends them a deliverer to restore their freedom.

At times in the book of Judges, Gods reveals himself as almost human-like in his swinging emotions towards his people.  It's like he wants to finally wash his hands of them, but once they show any inkling of returning his love, he flies to them with powerful demonstrations of his affection.

Judges 10 is a case in point.  The people have fallen into their old patterns of idolatry--verse 6 lists a whole pantheon of deities they're worshipping--so God has allowed them to be under the heavy thumb of the Ammonites and the Philistines.

Finally, the people have had enough and turn back to God for the umpteenth time.

Watch God in this passage:

10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”

11 The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”

15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.   (NIV, emphasis added)

And he goes on to deliver them again.

Know the heart of God for you.  "Come near to God, and he will come near to you" (James 4:8 NIV).

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
 for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.  (Micah 7:18 ESV)

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.  (Psalm 103:9-10 NIV) 

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