What God Doesn’t Enjoy
It happens to children thousands of times each day in school principals’ offices and homes. Punishment for some offense is about to be meted out, and the offender hears words similar to these: “I want you to know that I don’t enjoy what I have to do. There’s a sense in which this hurts me more than it will hurt you.” “Right,” the offender thinks to himself. “If it’s so painful for you, just don’t do it! I would be happy to spare you the pain!”
While “it hurts me more than it hurts you” has become a cliché in the circle of parents and principals, it reflects a deep and theologically-based truth. The reason that the “judge” doesn't like to give out punishment is because he or she knows it results from a moral or behavioral lapse—or pattern—in the life of the offender. And this truly hurts those who govern with wisdom. No one likes to see someone else do wrong and suffer for it. While children roll their eyes as they hear their parents’ words, those same children will shed tears one day over the punishment of their own children. It is a reflection of the image of God in the human race not to delight in the punishment of the wicked. Do they deserve it? Yes—heartbreakingly yes. But no person with a sense of God’s judgment delights in that which calls forth punishment: acts of sin, rebellion, or wickedness.
This is the heart of God as revealed to Israel through the prophet Ezekiel. God had given warning after warning to the stubborn nation—“If you do not listen to warnings, you will be responsible.” And then God begged the people to choose life instead of judgment. Not only does God take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, he takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:32). It breaks the heart of God when death and disaster must replace life and liberty.
Have you heard a warning from the word of God? Remember: God will find his full pleasure as you find yours in the doing of his will.
God’s Promise to You: “I find no pleasure greater than the enjoyment of your obedience.”
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