A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
Have you seen the toddler who breaks down in full out sobs, cries, and screaming? Maybe you’ve seen it while providing childcare or babysitting or while shopping in the grocery store. No matter where it happens or what the cause, we generally call these irrational fits of rage meltdowns. Although toddlers and children are the age category we generally associate these vivid displays of displeasure, adults can have them too.
We just are not so obvious or public about them. We generally keep our meltdowns between us and God or any other individual that may be involved, but we rarely do it in public. We prefer to keep up the appearance of calm and easy-going behavior and leave our bitter anger for the person(s) we felt offended us. Can you relate?
Don’t worry! You’re not the only adult, young adult, or teenager who’s experienced a meltdown. Israel had one too. A big one. And one against God. So it was no small matter!
“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.”
The wording of this passage is so vivid! One can easily picture the pathetic sight of men lying on their backs in the middle of the night wailing and bemoaning the loss of simple pleasures like food and drink. They work themselves up into such a fury that they start to throw things, punch things, and beating themselves.
How foolish! Especially since the reason why they had not was because God had removed His blessing from them for their sin. But instead of turning to God and sincerely seeking His help, they chose to have a nationwide meltdown. Grown men and women chose to act like toddlers and rage against the seemingly injustice of it all. Instead of doing what they could to rectify the situation, they merely complained and whined. They did not allow God’s discipline to soften their hearts, but rather, stayed in hard-hearted rebellion against their Maker and Giver of all good things.
So God let them wail. He let them gash themselves. He let them have their meltdown. Why? Because they would not listen to Him, so God left them. He let them do their own thing and suffer the consequences for it. But getting one’s own way isn’t a positive thing, though we may think so at the time. In fact, as Warren Wiersbe accurately points out:
“One of the greatest judgments God can inflict on any people is to let them have their own way.”
Therefore, this is not a blessing but rather a judgment! So we must be careful what we ask for. If we wail and complain against God and then God eventually lets us have what we so desperately wanted, we most likely won’t end up liking it. God knows what is best for us and though we may think we possess that information too, we don’t. But God in His infinite patience and mercy sometimes lets us learn this lesson the hard way. Sometimes He lets us have our own way, just so we can learn from the consequences. But this isn’t the route we should want to take.
We should learn from the mistakes of Israel and countless others who have experienced this hard lesson. We should humble ourselves and repent when God has removed His blessing from us due to sin. We definitely should not have a meltdown and temper tantrum against God. That’s never a good idea!
Therefore, let us learn, let us take heed, and let us avoid the pitfalls of Israel. And let us always remember that God knows best and has our best interest in mind—even if it doesn’t appear like it at the time. For God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher and above ours and we don’t want to experience His greatest judgment of allowing us to have our own way. So no more meltdowns! No more tantrums! It is time to trust the God who knows the past, the present, and the future and holds all things in His all-powerful hand.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”