Sermon heard at Grace Bible Church / 1-30-11
For the Lord will not cast off forever,but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth,to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.
We have to hold on to both:
His absolutely sovereign goodness
His absolutely good sovereignty
Affliction is not the primary thought of His mind. It is not the core of His being.
But, we have to repent before He can show compassion. So He sends affliction to move us to repentance so He can show compassion.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
Affliction, for God’s people, always comes to an end, but never His compassion.
Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told…
(and He proceeds to explain how He is raising up the Chaldeans to wreak havoc)
For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!
Affliction is not God’s normal (usual, characteristic, heartfelt) work.
But, restoration requires us to repent. And it may require affliction. Affliction is a lesser good that serves a greater good.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Summary: God’s defining character is compassion, not affliction. He merely uses affliction to bring us to repentance so that He can show us compassion.