Lovingkindness in Punishment
Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. Psalm 89:32–33
suggested further reading: Hebrews 12:3–13
God does not adopt us as his children to encourage us to commit sin with greater boldness. We read here of the chastisement that God uses to show us that he hates sin. In this, he warns us of what we deserve when we offend him. He also invites and exhorts us to repent of our sins. His fatherly chastisement then, which operates as medicine, holds the line between undue indulgence, which encourages sin, and extreme severity, which pushes people to destruction.
Whenever God punishes the sins of true believers, he does so with wholesome moderation. It is therefore our duty to take the punishment that he inflicts upon us as medicine for us. For God has nothing else in view than to correct the vices of his children so that, having thoroughly purged them of sin, he may restore them anew to his favor and friendship. According to the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:32, the faithful “are chastened of the Lord, that [they] should not be condemned with the world.” Lest they be overwhelmed with the weight of chastisement, God restrains his hand and makes considerate allowance for their infirmity.
Thus God’s promise is fulfilled, that my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from [them], even when he is angry with his children. For while God is correcting them for their profit and salvation, he does not cease to love them.
for meditation: Believers will never experience the wrath of God that they deserve. Though they do feel his discipline, such discipline is the act of a loving Father, not an angry Judge. The rod and stripes may be terribly painful, but they are used with love. God’s lovingkindness is not taken away from those who believe. How does this comfort you?