Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ When the Revelation of God’s Heart Lifts the Hearts of his Children

          This morning, the best word to describe how I felt would be: “blah!” The only reason I had to wake up with any feeling of expectation at all is that God has “come through” for me so many times that I now have no doubt that he will reveal to my heart some new and fresh discovery of the wonders of his words and thoughts towards me as his child, and towards  all of his children.

          It did not take long for God to open my heart to his words, and uncover his words for my searching heart to find and enjoy. Although his thoughtss contained many hard things to consider, they were filled with such hope, and such faith-building certainties, that I felt all the more encouraged to trust in the words of the Revelation, that everything God says will happen, whether of judgment on his enemies, or eternal blessings on his children.

          This week I have been going through the book of Ezekiel to see what I can learn about the four living creatures of Revelation 4. Since Ezekiel’s visions included an in-depth description of these creatures, they will be a significant commentary on what the apostle John witnessed hundreds of years later.

          As I considered these things, I ran headfirst into this expression of how God felt about the sinful state of his people during Ezekiel’s day. God described himself like this: “…how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.”[1] I know that I have read through Ezekiel on other occasions, but this was the first time God’s description of himself stood out as it did today.

          I looked this up in a few translations to see how others had tried to express what God was saying in the original Hebrew. The NIV said that God had “been grieved”; the NKJV described God as “crushed”; and the NASB said God had “been hurt”. That is a pretty overwhelming picture of how God was affected by the adulteries and idolatries of his people.

          This picture reminded me of something my children have tried to describe as their response to times they couldn’t escape that they hurt me. It was as though they could bear with me being angry with them, but could not bear the thought of me being hurt by something they did. Anger would give them something to hang on to, perhaps to justify themselves, or to blame me for handling things wrong. But, for me to simply be hurt by something left them defenseless. It put the spotlight on whatever they had done to produce such an effect.

          To consider God describing himself as broken, grieved, crushed, or hurt over the choices of his people, is disarming. How do we defend ourselves against such a reality? And yet, isn’t this also a declaration of the depth of God’s love for his people? We read these prophecies and recoil at the level of judgment they contain. However, in the very expression of such lengthy prophetic messages is the heart of God who offered every opportunity for his people to walk with him in faithful-love.

          And then, consider where God’s broken heart took him, and try to fathom the intricate wonders of the one God bringing about eternal redemption for people who had crushed him with our adulteries of every kind, and meditate deeply on the relationships of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all relating to one another in the redemptive work, the Father demonstrating his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, the Son loved us and laid down his life for us. Consider the heart of God when the Father had to forsake his Son in the outpouring of his wrath against our sin, and the Son had to feel, for the first time in eternity, that his Father had forsaken him as if he was sin personified.

          And then come back to God’s revelation of himself as broken, crushed, hurt, and grieved and consider how he cares about how we feel in our sin. What does he say in his own words? He says, The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”[2] Can such a thing be true, that the God who has been broken over our sin would come near to those who are brokenhearted over their sin? Can the one who was crushed because of our idolatries truly save the one who is crushed in spirit over what we have done?

          Oh how rich the love of God appears to the brokenhearted. It is as though our eyes suddenly become clear, and the mirage of worldly pleasures are suddenly exposed as the desert of demons they really are. At the same time, the beauty of the love of God grows before our very eyes, not as though becoming something different than it has been the whole time, but that our eyes can now see it for what it is.

          This is the love that brought prostitutes out of their prostitution, and drunks out of their alcohol-idolatry, and tax collectors out of their worship of money. It is the love of the God who was broken over our sin, who sent his Son to be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and wounded for our healing.[3]
          I write this to honor our God who revealed himself as someone who could be grieved by our sin, who loved with a love that could be broken over the adulteries and idolatries of those he loved, and would enter into such a sinful mess in order to redeem us, save us, deliver us, and restore us into his love. Let us be brokenhearted over our sin so that we can experience the love of the Savior who was broken because of our sin.

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.) 

[1] Ezekiel 6:9
[2] Psalm 34:18
[3] Isaiah 53:5

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