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Volume 32 - Page 135 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
"In all their affliction, He was afflicted."
[THIS SHORT SERIES IS INTENDED TO LEAD THE BELIEVER
TO SEE THAT THE "FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS" IMPLIES
THAT GOD HIMSELF SHARES, IN A VERY REAL SENSE,
THE SUFFERING THAT IS THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE
OF THE FALL OF MAN, AND THUS TO RECEIVE STRENGTH
TO ENDURE AND TO TRIUMPH.]
pp. 22 - 24
The only way to "prove" that God actually enters into the suffering of humanity and
does not remain aloof and unmoved, is to examine the Scriptures and discover how far
such feelings are attributed to God and how far these statements are to be accepted at
their face value.
A God afar off, dwelling in isolated majesty, unmoved by the waywardness and folly
of man, allowing His "laws" to work quite regardless of consequences, could hardly be
said to "grieve" or to "wish that He had never made man". Such language, if once
admitted, with all the margin allowable for the use of "figures of speech", must shatter
for ever the barrier that human wisdom has erected between God and His creatures.
No reader who has spent many years in walking through this vale of tears needs any
human commentary upon the meaning of "grief", and will probably find counterparts in
his own experience to the "grief" of Joseph's brethren, when their brother made himself
known to them (Gen. 45: 5), or of Jonathan's "grief" for David at the treatment meted
out to him by Saul (I Sam. 20: 34). Yet there are some who would attempt to modify the
force of the passage where "grief" is attributable to God Himself.
"How oft did they provoke . . . . . and grieve Him", asked the Psalmist (78: 40)
when dealing with the history of Israel in the wilderness. "They rebelled, and vexed
(same word as "grieve") His Holy Spirit", said Isaiah (Isa. 63: 10) of the same period.
A poignant passage is that which records God's attribute toward the wickedness of
man in the days of Noah.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the
Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (Gen. 6: 5, 6).
We must be prepared to find the force of this passage blunted by the contention that
this is "figurative language". Let us face this objection. We may ask, Why are figures of
speech used at all? Is it not because ordinary speech is not full enough to express all that
is intended? If I say, "That man is a lion", do I say more, or less, than I say "That man is
bold"? Surely I say more. We fully grant that God, Who is Spirit, does not "grieve" as