I cried because she cried.
We gave our three-year-old daughter a rule: “Don’t open the kitchen garbage can lid and stick your hand into the rubbish.”
Although she had listened, I entered the kitchen unexpectedly one morning and saw her little arm inside the container. I strode toward her and swiftly administered justice. She cried . . . then wailed . . . then sobbed. Her pitiful lament panged my heart. After a few moments, her tear-streaked face turned upward, and she held up her arms. Her down-turned mouth brought tears to my eyes, and I swung her up and pressed my cheek against hers, holding her tightly until we both stopped crying.
Isaiah writes of God’s affliction. Some synonyms for affliction are agony, distress, anguish, torment, and misery. But who or what could agonize the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe? In all their affliction, He was afflicted. The first part of the verse holds the answer. When God’s people are distressed, God is distressed.
Throughout the Old Testament, Israel turned away from God and worshipped the false gods of the nations around them, thus breaking the first commandment not to have any other gods before the one true God. Disobeying this one command led to their breaking the other nine. God’s people participated in all kinds of evil practices, including sacrificing their children to false gods and participating in temple prostitution.
Around 650 B.C., Isaiah warned Israel to repent of their idolatry and turn back to the Lord, or God would discipline them. God’s discipline included sending the Babylonian army to destroy the temple, ransack Jerusalem, and exile many Israelites to Babylon. The Lord waited four hundred years before He sent the Babylonians, but at the appointed time, judgment fell. But when their captors tormented God’s people, God was tormented too.
God’s ultimate act of love entailed sending Jesus Christ, the sinless God-man, to walk among us and experience our afflictions first-hand. But unlike us, Jesus was not afflicted for His sins, but ours.
If you don’t know the heavenly Parent who suffered for your sins, trust Him now. Doing so allows you to pass from God’s judgment and enter eternal life with Him.
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
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