What Breaks the Heart of God
Wednesday - June 3rd
Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Luke 19:41-42
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:25-34
As Jesus approached Jerusalem
and saw the city, he wept over it.
"The strength and happiness of a man consist in finding which way God is going and going in that way too." These words from 19th-century clergyman Henry Ward Beecher still make sense today.
So, it also makes sense that when we go against the direction God is going, we not only face a lack of strength and happiness, but we even break the heart of God. Our world is groaning. The sins and failures of my life cause some of that groaning. The sins and failures of others cause some of it too. Then, natural disasters, disease, viruses, aging, and many other natural effects of a world under the curse contribute to the aching of all creation. On top of all of that, we must add deep and destructive social problems like racism, antisemitism, abortion, crime, environmental pollution, gang violence, addictions, prostitution, poverty, human trafficking, domestic abuse, organized crime, and so much more.
The earth is groaning, moaning, aching. As it does, the continuing impact of sin from the fall of Adam and Eve grieves our God. He wants something new for each of us as His followers. He wants us to face life with strength and happiness. He wants us to know the peace that only He can give us in the middle of the groaning. Yet many of us choose to move more in alignment with a political party, a popular movement, a charismatic leader, a trendy cause, or what society deems right rather than what God says - rather than moving in the direction He is going. We miss moving in His direction if anything other than His Word and His Spirit drive us or guide us.
One of the most unusual emotional moments of all of the Bible occurs in Luke chapter nineteen. In Jerusalem and along the road down from the Mount of Olives, crowds had gathered to celebrate the arrival of Jesus for Passover week. It would be the last Passover week of His earthly ministry. They begin to sing, shout, and celebrate with chants of Jesus being the long-awaited Messiah. The celebration on the road, the valley below, and on the other side of the valley near the gates of Jerusalem stand in stark contrast to what Jesus was doing and feeling at that moment.
He stopped partway down the road from the Mount of Olives looked out at Jerusalem below and wept. Jesus is sad. He is broken over what He sees. It would seem His plan of being received as Messiah had come to fruition. But, He knew they were only embracing Him as a political Messiah coming to throw off their Roman oppressors. They missed how He would first be a suffering servant before He would become the conquering King.
Jerusalem, even in celebration, was moving in a different direction than God. Their happiness, strength, and peace would not be realized that day the way God intended for them. Jesus grieved. Luke tells us that as Jesus cried over Jerusalem, He said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes" (Luke 19:42). When we are not moving with God, we face turmoil and a lack of peace. We have no happiness. Peace is hidden from our eyes. God, the Son, was grieved by His people missing His eternal plan for them. We, too, should be grieved by what grieves the heart of God.
Does it grieve you to see another black man's life taken needlessly and so harshly? Does it grieve you when systemic racism causes black fathers to give special instructions to their children about how to interact with authorities appropriately? Does it grieve you when peaceful protests get hijacked by people with another agenda - an agenda that destroys property and harms other people? Does it grieve you when all police officers are painted with the same broad brush of racism? Does it grieve you that we cannot even have an honest and respectful dialogue about our social problems because people entrench themselves in their political bunkers?
Take time to ask God whether the things that break His heart, break yours? Be honest. Ask Him to make you like Christ. Ask Him to break your heart with the things that break His!
Do the injustices of this world grieve you? When you are moving in the same direction as God, they will.