“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of the evil that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’ But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.”
Some people conclude from passages like today’s that God is unloving. Bring disaster on his people? Leave their towns deserted? How could he? The answer is found in God’s love and mercy.
Like a father who genuinely loves his children, God disciplines us. What loving father would let his toddler play by a busy road? If a beloved child continues to waddle toward danger, discipline is applied. The discipline does not show a lack of compassion. Quite the opposite. The father loves his child too much to allow them to be hurt or killed by a car.
God loves us too much to allow us to play by the spiritual life’s equivalent of a busy highway. He loves us too much to allow us to continue to live in spiritual danger. When we ignore his instruction, he applies discipline. The writer to the Hebrews said it this way, “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV).
Talking to God
Father, none of us like the consequences of sin. No discipline seems pleasant at the time but thank you for loving us so much that you never give up on us. Thank you for applying the discipline that produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. Help us to see your love in your discipline. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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