In Ezekiel chapters 8 and 9, we see that the sin of God’s people is so great that God must correct and discipline them, and not spare. It has gone on long enough. And God started at His house (9:6).
In Jeremiah and Lamentations, we again see God’s harsher corrective discipline towards a rebellious people. He trashes His chosen people, trashes His own temple, and uses an ungodly nation to do it!
God loves His people, which means when the people do wrong He must correct them. If you’ll listen the first time, it isn’t so bad. But if you continually rebel, God must take more drastic measures.
So if God won’t spare even His chosen people Israel when they need correction, why do we think we’ll get away with anything? If God will cause ruin to His own people, however temporarily, what makes us think we can get away without it? If God will even use the ungodly to be His instrument of correction, why do we think we don’t have to listen or pay attention when that happens to us?
Now after hearing all that correction for Israel, let’s not mistakenly think that God is so drastically corrective all the time. Those punishments were on a national level for a people that had constantly rebelled against God. While God certainly isn’t so drastically corrective all the time, looking at His harshest punishments shows us that even in the midst of harsher correction, He still loves us and wants us to be better.
God is patient and slow to anger, and He would rather not have to correct us, but He certainly is swift once it is time for correction to be dealt. After all, His people are His children, and a loving father must teach His children right from wrong so they will not hurt themselves or others in the future. A loving father will only correct and discipline you so you can become better; it is for your good (Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19).
Even though God can unleash some powerful correction, and though He would rather not, when He has had to deal harsh correction, He has never abandoned or stopped loving His people. In the midst of the drastic measures of Ezekiel 8 and 9, God knew who still loved and listened to Him (9:3-4). Even in the midst of Jeremiah’s lament in Lamentations 3, we see the prophet remembering that God is still in control and that there is still mercy (around verses 21-26 and onward). As a loving father, God will still be there in the midst of trouble when you need Him (Job 5:17-18; Psalm 94:12-14). God would rather hold you close.
God sets boundaries to protect us and help us grow. These are for His glory and our good. Let’s not disobey, but listen to God since He actually loves us and knows what’s best. And let’s not obey because we’re afraid of correction, but rather because we love our Father in return for the love He shows us. God wants to hold us close. God wants to relate with us. God wants us to want to reciprocate.