“For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” – Lamentations 3:33
Lamentations is a record of wrath, a book of lamenting torment, trial, and brokenness. A chronicle of weeping and sorrow. A memory of affliction and judgment. Yet right in the very center of the book we have this beautiful truth, that God does not delight in judgment nor does He willingly afflict. God is love and He truly does love His creation. After all, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should call on Him should be saved. (John 3:16)
Why then does affliction come? Because that God is Holy and just and must judge sin with a righteous judgement. Therefor, in His desperation to bring His creation into right standing, He must allow lamenting afflictions to come upon the ungodly in hopes that it will wake then from their selfishness, their apathy, their carnality, their childishness, and their outright rebellion.
Even in judgment there is mercy in that God is allowing men to see the consequences of their own decisions that they might come to realize the wisdom, love, compassion, and glory of trusting in God’s over their own. That they might have fleshly pride and desires burned away that they learn to lean not on their own understanding but trust in the leading of His Holy Spirit. That in allowing them to touch the fire they might finally see that all His correction was meant to be protection and not control or condemnation. This is the lesson of lamentation.
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” – Micah 7:18
Even in affliction there is mercy for while God does not delight in judgment, He does delight in mercy. We will all stand before God one day to be judged but no one will stand not having been given every chance and opportunity to humble themselves and repent in this life. First through the word of truth, then if that doesn’t work through the lamentation of affliction. Yet it is all because of mercy and mercy is because of love.
“Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:19-23
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
However, love does not negate justice and all those who refuse to humble in this life will be humbled in the next when they are turned over to the master they chose. You see this is the real mercy of earthly affliction, that God allows men to get a small taste of the cruelty of the master they are choosing in serving the devil by turning them over to his evils and oppression in some measure in hopes that they will flee from him now while they still can. For there is coming a day when all hearts will be tried and those who choose to serve sin will be given to the master of sin in whom they have chosen to make themselves bound and will be cast into his final holding place with him by their own choice. God gives us the truth, He gives us the choice, He shows us the way, and He leaves the rest to us, because that’s what love does. It lets you choose, or else it’s not love, because love is a choice.
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 5:5
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans 6:16
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15