The Grieving of the Lord

Consequences to Breaking God’s Heart

The world view of God is a somewhere out there Deity, whom has no feelings toward our lifestyles down here. There is a One true God, there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:35) He cannot be over thrown, He cannot be bribed, He cannot be deceived, He can be praised by His children, and He can be hurt by those He has created.

In the Bible there is a truth which should awaken our hearts, “it grieved Him to His heart.” (Genesis 6:6) This truth is found in another passage of Scripture which tells us God has emotions which are affected by the actions of mankind. In Psalm 78:40 we read “How often they rebelled against Him…and grieved Him.” To grieve (עָצַב ʿāṣaḇ) the Lord means to hurt Him or to cause Him pain. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 858). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Willful disregard of God’s will, purpose and directions pierces the Lord’s heart with mortal anguish. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 1, p. 88). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)

Parents who have sacrificed time, strength, and finances to protect, provided and enable their children to achieve their goals in this life – know this grief when their children are unappreciated of what has been done for them. Just as a husband is grieved to the heart when he sees his wife in the act of adultery, the Lord is grieved when mankind adulterates their lives with a world view which is lied to by the Devil, who entices the flesh. Just as a mother is grieved by a wayward child, the Lord is grieved by a backslidden Christian and an adulterated church.

The Lord is Grieved

John Piper wrote, “…it is not for lack of compassion that men perish, but for lack of heart that delights in the God of compassion because of hard and rebellious hearts.” Mankind is compassionate to fulfill their dreams, to live what they believe and to express their view point. Sinful mankind has no regard for what the Lord wants and no desire to seek out His will. It is this type of heart which grieves the Lord who made “everything in it and gives mankind life.” (Acts 17:24-25)

The Lord is grieved over a stubborn hard heart. We see this in Mark 3:1-6 when the religious leaders were looking to see if Jesus would heel on the Sabbath, so they may attack and tear down His character. Many people today are like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, grieving the Lord as they are looking for reasons to not except Him, reject His love, guidance and despise His authority over them.

The Lord is grieved when a nation sheds the blood of the innocent and is governed by lies and deceits. The Bible says, “There are six things the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to Him.” (Proverbs 6:16) Two of them are: “…a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:17) 

The Lord is grieved when mankind turns a blind eye to sin. The Bible says, “…they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God…” (Romans 1:28) “…although they know God’s righteous degrees, [they continue to sin] and approve of those who practice [sin].” (Romans 1:32) Just as God sent the Apostle Paul to address sin in the Corinthian church, Christians with the New Testament appointment of apostles and prophets (Ephesians 4:11-12) need to rise up and confront the sins of today.

The Lord is grieved when His ministry is compromised: The author of the Book of Jude “warns Christians to guard against compromise. …He challenges us to keep ourselves faithful in the love of God. For he knows what is healthy for our souls and life.” (Barry, J. D., Mailhot, J., Bomar, D., Ritzema, E., & Sinclair-Wolcott, C. (Eds.). (2014). DIY Bible Study. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press)

In the book of Jude, under the preoccupy, “The Sin of the Ungodly” we read, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men …have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:3-4) “…they follow their own desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” (Jude 1:18) The cancers of denominationalism, legalism, traditionalism, faddism and self-indulgence are killing spiritual growth placing spiritual leaders under the warning found in Malachi, “‘If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor My name,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.’ ‘…For the lips of the priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.’” (Malachi 2:2; 7)

God is grieved when mankind violates the Marriage Covenant, for marriage is His idea not mankind. (Matthew 19:4-5) When mankind cheapens the pulpit or rewrites the definition of marriage – it grieves God’s heart. There are clear Biblical instructions on marriage. People with no desire to seek His direction, protection and blessings, would be better off to enter a Civil Union, which has the approval of governmental law, rather than touch the holy things of God with unholy hands. Most marriage ceremonies today are about the show with no desire to please the Lord. Some wedding ceremonies have become a license to a drunk feast, others a weak proclamation of vows – thus grieving the Lord – thus the high divorce rate.

When man does not love His wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25; 28) and when wives do not “live dignified, sober-minded and faithful in all things,” (1 Timothy 3:11) this grieves the Lord, because it cheapens the marriage covenant agree between man and woman (Malachi 3:14; Matthew 19:4-6). 1 Peter 3:7 warns husbands to live with their wives in an “understanding way and honor them” or their prayers will be hindered.

Whenever mankind, Christian or not, places their own ideas over seeking the Lord’s guidance, protection and enablement hurts the Lord in some way. God intervention in all things hinges off this truth, Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Samuel’s sons did not seek the Lord as Samuel did, (1 Samuel 8:5) thus, tempting Israel to sin. God took His steadfast love away from King Saul because Saul had grieved God for making him king. (2 Samuel 7:15; 1 Samuel 15:11, 35) God took the priesthood away from Eli and gave it to Samuel, because Eli and his sons hurt God in their service at the temple of God. (1 Samuel 2:30-36) In Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants, our Lord reveals a horrible truth of His people grieving God by rejecting His servants, abusing them and worse yet, they killed His Son.  (Luke 20:9-19)

Our prayer of protection from grieving the Lord is, “Lord, renew a steadfast spirit within me, especially in the mist of living in a sin cursed world blinded by the devil and intoxicated with the sinful flesh. Reveal to me the temptations within my heart, enable me to discern your guidance, teach others of your truths and empower me to walk in step with the Holy Spirit of Christ.”

The Consequences of Grieving the Lord

Hebrews 10:26-31 says, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The Bible also says, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) — if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.”

There comes a time when God has had enough. A continued grieving of the Lord moves Him to action bringing negative consequences. In Genesis we read of God being grieved to His heart. His judgement of unrepentant mankind was to destroy the wicked, the creatures and the earth. (Genesis 6:7) When we grasp the writings of First and Second Kings, we understand the author was not providing historical information, but rather he was setting the account straight on Israel’s spiritual conditions resulting in the chastisements or blessings of God. In the Bible, we see God’s response to an unrepentant hard heart, underscoring the necessity of obedience which enables Christians to have a genuine walk with the Lord.  (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (1 Ki). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)  God had enough with the priest Eli and replaced him with Samuel, of which the Bible says was, “the man of God; …highly respected.”  (1 Samuel 9:6) God had enough with King Saul and replaced him with King David. (Acts 13:22) – Both Eli and Saul died as the result of a battle. Time and time again we read, “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” In the Bible, we read of the sever chastisements of God effecting the sinful kings and the people they ruled over.

Lord Sees the Righteous

Even when the Lord has been grieved to the point where He hands out sever consequences and chastisements, His eye is clear to see the heart of the righteous and He uses them for His redemptive work. God sough Noah was a righteous man.  He used Noah to build the Ark which became the Lord’s salvation for people, the animals and the creatures. (Genesis 6:8-9:29) In the midst of a church which was poorly overseen by a weak priest, the Lord hears the prayer of Samuel’s mother, Hannah, who trusted God to give her a baby and she fulfilled her vow to dedicate him to the service of the Lord. (1 Samuel 1) In the New Testament, among the Pharisees and Sadducee’s, to whom Jesus said their father was the Devil. (John 8:44) God brings Saul, who was a Pharisee, to repentance. Saul received Christ (Acts 9) and become the Apostle Paul, an Apostle for Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:6)

God sent His son to die for us, while we were His enemy. The Bible says, For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10)

God is love (John 5:8), He is merciful (Luke 6:36), He is Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15), He is all powerful and He can empower his obedient saints (Isaiah 40:27-31), He is long suffering (Exodus 34:6), yet He can be grieved. (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40) Grieving the Lord has extreme consequences and not having a reverent fear of grieving Him places people under His judgement.

The church’s lack of understanding of the serious consequences of grieving the Lord is seen in this story of R.C Sproul teaching 250 Bible college students.

“On the first day of class, the great Bible teacher R.C Sproul told his students there would be a term paper due on the last day of September, October, and November. At the end of September 225 students handed in a term paper, 25 did not – all 25 presenting a remorseful sorry. Applying our modern day understanding of grace, professor Sproul gave them an extension, but warned them not to be late for October’s term paper date.

The end of October rolled around, and 200 students handed in their term paper, 50 did not. Of which all 50 begged for mercy, of which Professor Sproul gave them an extension, giving them a stern warning, there will no more grace, they will get an ‘F’ if they do not get the November term paper in on time.

The end of November came, and only 100 students turned in their term papers, the other 150 students did not saying, ‘We will get it done soon.’ Upon which consequences came. Professor Sproul said, ‘you get an F’.

The students all complained, thus falling into the sin of resting upon God’s grace as a license to sin (Galatians 5:13), sin (ἁμαρτία hamartía) meaning to miss the mark of seeking perfection (Matthew 5:48).”

The grieving of the Lord has its serious consequences. Christians who have a reverent fear of the Lord do not fall under God’s judgement, like the people we read about in the Genesis flood account or like Eli and King Saul did. Christians, who seek and trust in the Lord strive to be like Samuel, “a man of God, …highly respected.” They are used of God like Noah, Samuel and King David, becoming instruments of righteousness for His redemptive work.

Godly Sorrow

The Necessity of a Sin Exposed Church

From the time God raised up what we would recognize as the church structure to now, there has been sin in the camp which is eventually exposed. When Moses went up Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32) Aaron was appointed as the Lord’s representation to watch over the people of God. The people God rescued out of Egypt forced Aaron to build them a Golden Calf of which he made and then lied about. (Exodus 32:3-4; 32:34) The Bible says Aaron led them into great sin. (Exodus 32:21)  There is also the account of Eli’s wicked sons. The Bible says “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:1) “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” (1 Samuel 2: 17) The Bible says, “…They slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” (1 Samuel 2:22) The priest Eli’s oversight was so poor, the Bible says, “…a man of God” (1 Samuel 2:27) went to pronounce judgement. The Hebrew for “A man of God” here is likely an appellation or rather an indicator of a prophet of God. (Judges; Samuel; Kings; Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Samuel (p. 55). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)

Their sin was so great in the sight of the Lord, Israel “lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The Ark of God was captured and the [two wicked sons of Eli] died.” (1 Samuel 4:10-11) God’s chastisement was so heavy, Eli dies from hearing the news of the capture of the Ark of God, and that his two sons were dead. (1 Samuel 4:18) So horrific was the consequences of sin in the church the daughter-in-law of Eli – went into labor, she was overcome and died, her new born son lived and was named “Ichabod” meaning glory. (Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 416). San Francisco: Harper & Row.)

The last words from Eli’s daughter-in-law lips were “…the Glory has departed from Israel.”  (1 Samuel 4:22)  The Hebrew word “Glory” (כָּבוֹד kāḇôḏ) means the majesty or glorious presence of God. (Exodus 29:34;  Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 493). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.;  Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Bibles which translate the word Glory as capitalized have the correct revelation, “the presence of God Himself in Israel was no longer there.” (Merrill, E. H. (1985). 1 Samuel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 436). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.; Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.; Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.)

The Old Testament holds the account of King David, his sin with Bathsheba. Just as God sent a man of God to address the sin of Eli’s poor overseeing the church. God sends the Prophet Nathan to deal with King David. Nathan’s rebuke sets the truth before us, “by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt…” (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV) 

In the New Testament we see sin in the camp of the Corinthian church. In his first letter the Apostle Paul dealt with serious doctrinal errors, moral sins and irregularities of Christian living including disorderly conduct in worship. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church he lays out the antidote for the church which was overcome with self-indulgence, a world view and the deception of the devil. In 2 Corinthians we read, “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while — yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)

The truth is, as we look at the Old and New Testaments, there comes a time when rebuke is necessary. When the church allows sin in the camp to go unchallenged so they can find favor with the crowd, trouble escalates, God continues to be hurt and His work is publicly mocked. Sin in the church breeds a desire to be seen in leadership position with no hunger for a relationship with the Lord. Thus the pulpit is cheapened and God’s genuine presence is gone, “Ichabod” might as well be the sign over the door of that church. Sin is like a disease, if it is dealt with at the right time it can be eradicated, if not it can become an incurable growth with effects which scare the lives of many for years and years.

Paul says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance…”  True repentance is demonstrated by a life that now lives for the Lord. A person actually sees their sin as God sees their sins. A person who has true Godly sorrow can be molded, equipped and empowered for the work of the Lord.  (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letters to the Corinthians (p. 227). Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster John Knox Press.; Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (2 Co 7:10). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.; Garland, D. E. (1999). 2 Corinthians (Vol. 29, p. 357). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

Paul writes, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.” The Psalmist, David gives us this understanding from the truth he reveals in Psalms 51. “Against you [God] I have sinned.” (Psalm 51:4) “Create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. …grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:11-12)

This truth is an ongoing active heart which desires to walk in step with the Holy Spirit of Christ which glorifies God and Christ. This intrigues others to trust in God. Godly sorrow puts us in a right heart by:

  • Realizing our sins in the past and present hurts the Lord and then causes people to question God’s ability to save sinners from the sins which holds them in bondage.
  • Realizing our sins past and present had and continues to have negative consequences which hurt all of God’s creation in some way.
  • Realizing only God knows what is deep within mankind’s spiritual heart. (Jeremiah 17:9-10) Thus we should pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way of everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

An unknown author wrote, “There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. Out of a list of ten men in the Bible who said ‘I have sinned.’ Scripture teaches only five produced the fruit of repentance. They were David (2 Sam. 12:13), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:6), Job (Job 42:5, 6), Micah (Micah 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:18).” – H.G.B. (Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.;)

King Saul was sorry for the consequences of sin he found himself in, King David was sorry he broke the heart of God, knew his sin was keeping him from God’s presence and the consequences of his sins brought contempt on the Lord’s work. (Psalm 51)

Just like in the Bible sin in the camp opens the doors to the judgement of God – there has been and there are times in the modern day church, God has exposed and judge sin. Today, as you read the so called “I have sinned” confessions, it is clear, regret from consequence is the motivator of such pronouncements. What is missing is Godly sorrow. There needs to be the fruit of repentance which is careful not break the heart of God, protects His good name, and invites the Lord to continue to do a good work in us.

Godly sorrow is reflected in the prayer of Nehemiah, “…When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. [You] keep [your] covenant of love with those who love [you] and obey your commands. …I confess the sins we Israelite’s, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We acted wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws [of the Lord]. …O Lord, let your ears be attentive of this, your servant [is praying], your servants who delight in revering your name.” (Nehemiah 1:1-11)    

The truth to catch in this passage of Scripture is “servants who delight in revering your name.” “Revering (יָרֵא yārēʾ) is to respect, to have a reverent fear of the Lord. People who fear the Lord become faithful, are trustworthy because healthy Biblical fear of God constrains Christians to live morally. (Exodus 18:21; Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 470). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.)

The fear of the Lord is tied closely with revering God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7) The Bible says, “Love the Lord your God with your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)  

In the time of Samuel, when sin in the church was not Biblically repented of, there was a change in the leadership and the Lord dealt with the unrepentant. Just as Samuel’s mother, Hannah, “asked of the Lord for him.” (1 Samuel 1:20)  The church needs to ask God to raise up prophets like Samuel. Unlike the Priest Eli and his wicked sons, Hophni and Phineas, who had no regard for the Lord. Samuel, “served as judge, priest and prophet, keeping the good name of the Lord before the people he served. Samuel was God’s chosen instrument” (Who’s Who in the Bible, “Samuel, page 580-581) to replace the poor leadership which had no Godly sorrow. Samuel did not cheapen the pulpit, even though he was often exposed to the “lewd behavior of Eli’s sons. Samuel remained steadfast in his love for the Lord.” (Who’s Who in the Bible, “Samuel, page 581)  The Bible says Samuel was known as “the man of God; …highly respected…” (1 Samuel 9:6)

In the time of sin in the camp, God raised up the prophet Samuel, to replace a ministry which had no desire to have Godly sorrow. In the time of King Saul, who had no reverence for Lord, God raised up King David to reign over Israel. In the time of the Corinth Church, God raised up the Apostle Paul to write a letter to a sin cursed church, pointing them to Godly sorrow. When sin is exposed in the church, a modern day true teacher of God’s Word must teach on Godly sorrow.

Does your relationship, life and ministry, reflect a Biblical understanding of Godly sorrow? Is God’s heart first on your mind? Is it on your heart to protect His good name? Are we inviting Him to continue to do a work in us? (Philippians 1:6)