The Book of Judges is about a wayward people who grieved God continually, yet there is one verse that struck home with me – Judges 10:16b “And His [God’s]soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Like a parent who can barely endure the suffering of her child, God’s compassionate heart breaks when He sees our helplessness – and we are all helpless to save ourselves from a life of sin and want.
King David was loved by God who testified concerning him, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart.” David understood God’s marvelous love to be deeper than the familial love of parents who desire to provide for and give to their children. Because David knew He was loved, he knew hope for God’s favor when he prayed, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings . . .” (Psalm 17:8). Prophetically, though, David ended His prayer with a hope for eternal nearness to God, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness,” (Psalm 17:15). This is the prayer of a man who is looking beyond his need for comfort on earth to his spiritual life with God for all eternity.
I wonder about the broken heart of God that many years later heralded the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s compassion burst the heavens with song and joy for the coming Savior of mankind. Then our Father endured the sacrifice of His only Son to bring salvation to a helpless people, not because we merited or earned this Gracious Gift, but because He never changes – He loves.
Like the thief on the cross who recognized Jesus as the Son of God, we, in the midst of sinful death, can cry out, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And because Christ knew that we would sin in ignorance, He prayed for us then and prays for us now, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do,” Luke 23:34.
I am so grateful for the forgiveness of my Lord and Savior, and I long for even more from Him. I look forward to the day when in the twinkling of an eye I will be changed by the sweet words of Christ welcoming me home. Just as Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross that pivotal moment in time, He will speak to me, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
What a glorious day that will be!!
Lord Jesus, whether You come for me in this life or when my spirit leaves my body, I am comforted knowing that You will come for me. That also means that those whom I have loved and who also loved You will be among the saints at Your side. To awake in Your likeness in the brightness of Your righteousness forever – how marvelous! Amen!