“Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” —Judges 10:16
God’s omnipotence scares me at times. Whether looking at the stars or sitting through a California earthquake, I am struck by the immense power at his disposal. I feel very small. And because he is so big and so strong, it sometimes seems he could not possibly have feelings that even approach tenderness or empathy with which I could identify.
But then I read the account in Judges that says, “And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” Those words violate our perception of an omnipotent God. I see him inspecting the Israelites’ fulfillment of the covenant to serve him, the evil of the enemies, and then, in almost mechanical fashion, throwing a hailstorm or two in the direction of the offenders. Israelites rescued. Universe in order. Back to his throne. Next!
The record reveals quite a different picture. It says he couldn’t bear their misery any longer. At first glance, such empathy would seem to be incongruent with his omnipotence. But it is precisely because he is omnipotent that he is able to empathize. His incredible storehouse of power enables him to sense, and empathize with, the circumstances of sinful and powerless people. In effect, the same power that enables him to throw a galaxy into a new quadrant of the universe is the power that brings God to his knees on our behalf.
I am embarrassed by God’s inability to bear my misery. Too often I treat his words and commands like so many wayward Israelites did. I cast a worthless word or a covetous eye with barely a thought to the cosmic impact on God’s heart. It’s more than embarrassing. It’s shameful. Do you feel the same?
But Almighty God, you are not ashamed of me. You have clothed me in the robe of Christ’s righteousness and I am protected by your power. Thank you.
Taken from More Precious Than Silver. Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530