"He could bear Israel's misery no longer."

Bible Reading: Judges 10; 11; 12

"The Lord replied, '...You have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!' But the Israelites said to the Lord, 'We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.' Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer" (10:13-16).

Sometimes we want God to save us out of our misery, but we're unwilling to make the right choices and actions in our lives. When we turn from our sin, accept the consequences for our choices, yield ourselves into his hands, and take active steps to obey God's word and live for him, he has compassion on us and comes to our rescue. He doesn't always take us out of our situation, but he helps us endure it and grow from it. He defeats the enemy that attacks our minds. He teaches us to trust him as a faithful, loving Father.

It must break God's heart to watch us suffer. It's difficult for me to see my children suffer, especially after they've corrected their attitude and changed their behavior. When I discipline them, my purpose is not to punish them, but to teach them to make better choices in the future. God doesn't get pleasure out of disciplining us either, but he wants us to learn to obey and trust him, for our own good.

Sometimes life is like being confined to our room for punishment. At times, we just sit there and pout or cry. We bemoan the punishment and beg to be released, but we don't take responsibility for our actions. We don't want to admit that it could be our fault we're in there. We think God is being harsh, unfair and uncaring, and we beg to be released from our misery. (This was the Israelites' position when God first refused to save them out of their distress.)

At other times, we accept the punishment but don't attempt to learn anything from it or to change anything in our lives. We sit in our room and stare at the ceiling, just wishing we could get out. We see no end in sight, so we just lay there, consumed by our grief, just killing time. When my own son responds to discipline with anger or apathy, my attitude about his consequences remains unchanged. If, however, he accepts his plight and finds something to do while he’s confined to his room, then I often have compassion on him and reduce his punishment. (I can "bear his misery no longer.")

Lord, when I've been "sent to my room" to learn from my mistakes or when I'm just stuck in your waiting room for whatever reason, remind me to make the most of my time there. Even if I don't understand the lessons I'm supposed to learn from it yet, let me be wise and productive with my time, doing what I know is right and pleasing to you. Instead of just killing time or weeping and complaining about being stuck there, let me seek your face, worship you, get to know you more intimately, and be diligent in serving the needs of others. When life seems hard and unfair, may I yield to your sovereignty and trust in your love and mercy in my life.

Lord, please look with compassion on my friends who, while remaining faithful to you, are enduring endless trials. May you see their pain and no longer be able to bear their misery. Come to their aid. Rescue them out of their distress. Heal their wounds. Draw them close to your heart. "Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now" (10:15).