Why does God discipline his people?
In Leviticus 26 we see the stipulations for the Mosaic covenant. If Israel obeyed the Lord and kept his commandments, he would bless them bountifully and they would lack nothing. If they chose to disobey and go their own way by worshipping other Gods and the like, then God’s hand of punishment would rain down on them. This would continue and get worse until they repented. But, when they did finally repent and turn to the Lord, he would relent and return them to a state of blessing, after their punishment was over.
Unfortunately, this is a cycle we see repeated throughout the remainder of the Old Testament. Israel obeys for a short while, they forget God, God disciplines them, they cry out in anguish, they repent, the Lord restores them.
This got me to thinking, why does the Lord discipline his people? He does so for two reasons: 1) because he loves us (see Hebrews 12), and 2) to turn us back to him so we can walk in obedience. Both reasons are love-filled and gracious. As a parent, these are the same reasons why I discipline my own children. I do it because I want what’s best for them.
Although we don’t walk in the same promises as Israel under this covenant (blessings & curses), the principles still apply. Things will go better for us when we walk in obedience to God’s Word, and we can expect discipline when we don’t. With that in mind, think about God’s hand of discipline in your life. How have those times helped you grow in your faith?
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