God’s Discipline is a Sign of His Commitment

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God’s judgments preserve His unique purposes for Israel. They are not a sign of His rejection of Israel, but a sign of His unique relationship to her. God disciplines Israel so she will ultimately become the saved nation He has destined her to be.

When God delays judgment, sin and wickedness increase. Therefore, His judgments are an expression of mercy because they stop wickedness before it can escalate and do even more harm. God’s punishments are a demonstration of His value for righteousness and his hatred for sin. We do the same when we enact punishments to deter others from committing a crime and to make a statement of the seriousness of a crime.

God is patient and long-suffering in His judgments. He sends prophets for decades and, in some cases, centuries to warn the people before He releases His judgments. He is not eager to discipline for the sake of discipline. He is quick to relent when there is repentance. God sent Israel into captivity for her rebellion, yet He refused to cut Israel off permanently.[1]He responded to Israel’s broken covenant by promising a new covenant that would resolve the broken covenant.[2]God’s mercy towards Israel throughout her history reveals His nature and character.

God’s judgments on Israel have never been arbitrary. They are a result of the covenant, and God uses them to protect Israel’s calling. They protect Israel’s calling in two ways. First, they reveal the holiness and greatness of God. This revelation is Israel’s greatest need because this revelation will finally provoke Israel to turn to God for His salvation.

Second, God’s judgments cut Israel off from the sin that seduces her. The sinful ways of the nations have always been attractive to Israel; therefore, God uses the nations in His judgments to show Israel that the way of the nations results in death, destruction, and oppression.

Israel’s story is a graphic warning that the sin we find so attractive ends in death.

[1]           See Jeremiah 31:35–37.

[2]           See Jeremiah 31:31–32; Hebrews 8.


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