In response to a recent post from the Hasten Home blog, a serious question was presented. It is a question that it seems is not all that uncommon and which certainly deserves an answer. The question is namely this: “Doesn’t God delight in misery?”
I struggle for the “right” words to answer, simply because this is a question most important. God is all-powerful; He is King of Kings; our fate, it seems, is in His hands…or is it?
Do we really want to serve Him?
If the God of Heaven is a cruel dictator, do we really want to give Him our willing service—perhaps we should at least go down with a fight, if that is the case! But if He is a kind leader, first walking where He would have us to go and wanting for us what is best, willing service makes sense.
Let us go straight to the Bible, where God’s character is clearly laid out before us.
It is no secret that misery does exist in this world. The question is whether God is pleased with this miserable state of things.
The short answer is this: “God is love.” The more complete answer follows.
In the beginning
Genesis 1:31 says, as the “heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (chapter 2, verse 1), that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Creation, fresh from the hand of the Creator, was “very good”. It was later that “sin entered into the world, and death by sin….”
Later, at Moses’s request to be shown God’s glory, the Lord replied “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee….” God’s glory is His goodness—not His sinisterness.
Shortly, the Lord proclaimed His name—that is, His character:
“The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
The character of God is one of balance. He is merciful, loving, forgiving—yet if a person chooses not to have a part with Him, they are left to bear the consequences of their own sins.
It is departing from God that leads to misery.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
The gift of God
The Bible is very clear that “the wages of sin is death”, but God has provided a way out—a pardon for our crime—and that way, if we choose to accept it, is Jesus.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”(Hebrews 2:9; Ezekiel 18:32)
The answer is clear.
God is quite the opposite of a sinister, misery-loving deity. Isaiah 25:4 says of Him, “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” Psalm 5:4 adds, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.”
The end of misery
When it all is said and done, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Isaiah 25:8,9; Revelation 21:4)
Praise the Lord! The first step is to choose Him, to accept the generous gift offered us through Jesus. Then we may claim this promise from Psalm 16:11: “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
***Hasten Home is expecting the soon release of a new, original set of Vacation Bible School materials. VBS–The Land of Milk & Honey will talk of God’s law, the Ten Commandments, and of some of the Israelites’ experiences on their way to the Promised Land—and the bigger picture, including the fall of Lucifer and our Heavenly home ahead. If you have questions, just send us a note using our convenient Contact page.***