READ 1 SAMUEL 4:1 THROUGH 7:17
Why would a merciful God punish His people?
So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 7:3).
God is merciful, but He is also just and allows people to experience consequences for their actions. In turning from God, the Israelites rejected the grace and power that had protected their nation. God did not use punishment to cut His people off, but rather to bring them back to obedience. After their defeat, the Israelites realized their need for God and rededicated themselves to serving Him. Once they turned to God for help, He extended grace and brought them victory.
Although not everything that goes wrong in life is a punishment from God, He may punish you or allow suffering at times to bring you closer to Him. When you have distanced yourself from God, He is faithful to offer forgiveness and mercy if you turn to Him.
Thought for Today:
God’s discipline is an act of love that helps His people grow in holiness.