What Breaks God’s Heart (Unrequited Love)

DSC03398%20Lonely%20tree%20on%20shorelilne%20bSeveral years ago my Pastor (then at Riverlakes Community Church) preached a series on “What Breaks God’s Heart”.  The title has always stuck out to me and I have often times meditated on what does break God’s heart.  The Bible is full of explicit references to the heart of God being deeply moved, even moved to tears over the heartache in this fallen world.  This is the third in a series of posts on What Breaks God’s Heart

 One of the saddest things that a pastor has to deal with is trying to restore a marriage gone bad.  By the time a couple comes for help it is usually almost too late.  There have been too many hurtful words, too many silent accusations, too many lonely nights and too many destructive habits begun.  On occasion, a pastor may find a marriage gone wrong where one spouse still wants to try and that is probably the hardest thing of all.  It is good because it gives hope to the marriage that at least someone wants to work on it, but it is heart breaking to see the other spouse respond with a stone cold heart.

As I continue to meditate on the question, “What breaks God’s heart?”  I’m reminded that the Bible often describes God’s relationship with his people as the relationship of a husband and wife.  As a husband God provides for them, He nurtures them, and He showers love upon them.  Tragically, one of the most common descriptions of God’s wife is that of a prostitute or an adulteress.  Despite all of the grace and care that God lavishes upon His people they continue to return to their sin and to their idols. 

This tragic reality is most starkly set forth in the Old Testament book of Hosea.  God commanded the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer and to take her into his home.  In spite of this great kindness, Gomer returned to her life of prostitution and ended up a wretched and defiled woman.  As Hosea recounts this story God periodically breaks into the narrative to explain how Gomer’s harlotry is exactly the same as His own wife’s idolatry and how His people’s sin is going to bring terrible consequences upon them.  In chapter 11 the Lord recounts how He cared for Israel as a young nation and how He took them in His arms and lead them with bonds of love, when suddenly He cries out:

How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled.

As we read this account and consider God’s anguish over His wife’s rejection, we must be careful not to think of God as being needy.  It is not that God needs His people to love Him.  God is not diminished in any way whatsoever, by a lack of affection.  At the same time, it is clear that there is a legitimate heartfelt response on the part of God to His unrequited love.

That which was true of Israel in the days of Hosea is still true of us today.  As a husband God greatly loves the church (1 John 4:19) and as a wife we break God’s heart when we refuse to return His love by delighting in Him and Him alone.  The flip side of this truth is the great joy that God takes in His bride and in her faithfulness.  Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  The paradox seems to be that what breaks God’s heart is unrequitted love, but what rejoices God’s heart is His children.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

July 13 2009 04:00 am | What Breaks God's Heart

Comments are closed.