All of us who know and love the Lord want to do what is right in His eyes. All of us know how often we fall short. It is great to know that God has mercy waiting for us when we sin. This wonderful mercy of God does not give us some kind of license to sin but rather it frees us to walk in His great love and with a sense of gratitude seek diligently to obey Him.
God’s heart of compassion is big! In Judges 10:13-16 we read about this great big heart of our God toward His people.
Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.” And the children of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” 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.
God is hurt when we choose to turn away from Him and follow after idols. We may not have pieces of wood or stone crafted into an idol but we are still guilty of idolatry in many ways. The best way for me to get my mind around idolatry is to say, “Whatever I obsess about in my thoughts; whatever I consume my time and energy on; whatever I invest my money in is my god.” God hates idolatry. He hates it when we replace Him with other people; other things or other activities.
Israel was prone to forsake the LORD and follow false gods. God was certainly justified when He said He’d had enough. “I will not deliver you any more. Go ask the gods you have chosen and have them deliver you!” But the amazing thing is that when His people humbled themselves and repented of their sin the Bible tells us, “And God’s soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” So He delivered them again!
God’s big heart of mercy and compassion responds to genuine repentance. The Lord who loves justice (Isaiah 61:8) also desires to have mercy on all (Romans 11:32). God delights in showing mercy to the penitent. This is exactly what we see in this passage. Israel truly repented and turned away from her sin and turned full face towards God. “And the children of Israel said to the LORD, ‘We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day we pray.’” No excuses; just an open confession of sin and wrong. But not only did they say they were wrong they also took action that proved it. They put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. It was then that the Lord could no longer endure His people’s misery and He delivered them. Oh, the goodness and mercy of our God!
Are you in need of God’s mercy? He loves to give it to those who turn full face to Him. The Spirit of God is attracted to brokenness and humility. He is repelled by hard heartedness and pride. Turn to Him and you will find sweet mercy flow from His big, big heart! And having tasted and seen that the Lord is good you will be filled with gratitude and joy! “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. “ Psalm 32:1