“And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel”
O my soul. True words are like windows…they help us see. Like paint and brushes in the hands of a skillful artist, good words create pictures in our minds; they focus our thoughts, and enlighten our understanding. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11).” In the text above, the Holy Spirit has crafted a window of words through which the spiritual reader may catch a glimpse of the very soul of God. Take heed however. The clearest glass avails nothing for those that are blind. How many hold the Bible with open hands but veiled hearts? “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).”
We see here, dear reader, a glimpse of the God who appoints sufferings to humble His people. According to our inspired text, the Lord “could no longer endure.” Thus, we see, there was this period of persevering which the Lord had prepared. There was a chapter of chastisement that needed to be written upon the hearts of His rebellious children. “He sold them into the hands of the Philistines… (Judges 10:7)” He who appointed this discipline also had to endure it. O my soul, am I mindful of this manner of my Makers plan? Do I improve my sufferings rightly by allowing them to humble me for my sin? Though not every trial is the consequence of my personal transgression, nevertheless every pain should cause me to ponder what the just punishment of every sin is. Some seem to foolishly say that sufferings and misery are no part of God’s plan. In trying to protect God’s holiness, they assault His sovereignty. “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? (Amos 3:6)” Let God be true, and every man a liar. Though God is not the author of sin, He is the Sovereign Appointer of suffering. Dear reader, what is that suffering or affliction with which you are burdened today? I tell you the truth, it comes from the hands of a wise God whose thoughts are not our thoughts, and whose ways are not our ways. Trials, troubles and tears are tools of the Almighty by which He plows the soil of our souls for the planting of the seeds of grace. Our thorns in the flesh are appointed to focus our thoughts on the fragrant rose of His glory.
But these words also display the infinite compassion of a Redeeming God toward His repentant children. “So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel. (Judges 10:16)” Do these words shock you? God is omnipotent. All power belongs to Him. If all the weight of all the worlds were resting in His hand, it would be lighter than a feather to our heavenly Father. It is easier for God to hold the whole universe than for me to hold a single hair. But the words of our text describe one thing which (though speaking with language intended to accommodate our human capacity) is hard for God to bear: our misery. “His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Dear reader…do you comprehend the comfort these words convey? He that can easily carry the cosmos cannot long endure the anguish of His blood-bought creatures. Jesus Christ endured the cross…because He could not endure your misery! He bore our transgressions, because He could not bear our tears. Oh if this does not move our soul to repentance how hard must our hearts truly be? Does not the love of Christ constrain you? O put away the idols of indifference and impiety, the statues of sin and selfishness, and the pillars of pride, the temples of transgression, and the gods of greed. He who cannot endure the misery of those that repent invites you today to believe upon Jesus Christ and be saved. And dear suffering child of God…know that the Lord will not long endure your present misery. He has accomplished in Christ your soul’s delivery from all that sin destroyed. Right now the trial is hard, the trouble is heavy, and the tears hurt. All this is true. But let this little window into God’s soul lighten your load, and may it be that you can say with that blessed Apostle “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).” You, if you belong to Christ, also belong to Him who cannot much longer “endure the misery of Israel.”