In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. – Judges 2:14-15
Nobody enjoys punishment. From the child sent to his room for having his hand in the cookie jar to the criminal sent to a penitentiary for having his hand in the cash drawer, nobody delights in the imposed sentence.
God disciplined Israel after Joshua’s generation because the people had forsaken him. He handed the Israelites over to plundering raiders. He sold them to their enemies. The Lord’s hand turned against his own people.
Why did God act in such a way? Was it to pay the Israelites back for their rebellion? Was it to give them the thrashing they deserved? Was it merely to punish them? We must answer with a resounding NO.
Though we, like Israel, deserve punishment for our sins, God doesn’t heap it on us. Instead, he provided a complete Savior. The blood of Christ was the perfect, all-sufficient ransom price that paid for the sins of the entire world. As the Bible teaches, “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
It’s tremendous good news that the eternal punishment for sin was borne by Jesus. In love, our heavenly Father does chastise his people during their lifetimes. Such chastisement may be severe, strict, or even painful. However, it serves a good purpose – to lead the sinner to sorrow and repentance. The Bible says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Therefore, chastisement is an act of God’s mercy and grace. He loves us enough to administer discipline in our lives, that we might never stray from his side. In every chastisement the Savior promises his deliverance.
Jesus came to earth to “call … sinners to repentance” (Luke 2:32). Do not be surprised when life’s road gets bumpy. Remember that whatever happens to you passes first through the hands of your loving Redeemer. Then turn and firmly cling to him.
Prayer: Lord, use the difficulties and struggles that I have in life to remind me of your saving love, and lead me to trust in your faithful promises to deliver me. Amen.