When man afflicts God

Man is temporal. God is eternal. Man is limited in every way. God is infinite. Man cannot do even the simplest things without the help of God. God is omnipotent. But the Bible clearly tells us that we can bring pain to God’s heart. God has chosen to love us, and therefore open himself up to be vulnerable to pain, for our sake.

In Psalm 78, the story of the children of Israel is told. In verse 39 and 40, we find, “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

Notice the words “grieve” and “limited.” I believe many of us our familiar with the idea of grieving someone. But limiting? This particular use of “limit” literally means to wound or to bring pain. Israel, in her disobedience and rebellion, brought grief, pain, and a “wound” to God Himself. What could be more serious than to bring to pain to God Himself?

You might say, “Well that was Old Testament, what about the new?” We have an almost parallel passage in Ephesians 4 when Paul says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” We bring grief to God’s heart with our rebellion and sin.

I challenge you, realize the magnitude of your sin. When you sin, you aren’t just indulging in something that won’t have effects later. You are destroying your life, harming those around you, and bringing grief and pain the God of the universe. What you do matters, and it effects eternity.

I hope you take that to heart, as I hope I will, and decide to place a higher value on righteousness. But before I finish this devotional, I have just one more idea to share with you.

Think of God. Think of His awesomeness. Think of His infinite power and value. If the God of the universe- the greatest being that ever existed and ever will exist- has decided to make himself vulnerable and allow himself to feel pain because he has chosen to love us, should we ever complain when we feel pain because we love another? Putting abusive relationships aside, should we ever stop loving because we “can’t take the pain?” I believe the answer is obvious. Christ is willing to experience pain to love us, and we should be Christlike and bear the pain others cause us when we love them.

God promises to help us, and to be with us every step of our lives. He keeps us from temptation that would be to great for us. So we always have a choice. We never have to grieve him again! He also promises to give us strength if we seek Him. If we ask for help to show Christlike love, God will give us the strength to love despite the pain, and become more like Him in the process.

I challenge you, ask God to help you to not grieve Him, and bear the grief others cause you. If you sincerely ask Him to help you, it is a surety that He will!

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