Judgment and Punishment Will Come
God Doesn’t Give Empty Threats; He Will Do What He Says He Will Do
God has expectations for his people. The Old Testament of the Bible covers this. The first five books of the Bible, often called the Law of Moses, details God’s expectations. He tells the people what to do and what not to do. If they obey, they’ll receive rewards and favor. If they disobey, they’ll face judgment and punishment.
Then we witness a recurring cycle in the Bible. The people turn from God and face difficulties. Then they turn back to him, and he embraces them. We first see this cycle repeated in the book of Judges, and it carries forward throughout the rest of the Old Testament.
The prophets continue to address this. They call God’s people to turn toward him. If they don’t, judgment and punishment will follow. But the people don’t listen. Eventually God has had enough.
Their list of failures is long:
- they worshiped other gods
- they secretly did what they weren’t supposed to do
- they built places of worship to other gods and burned incense to them
- they made and worshiped idols
- they didn’t trust God
- they rejected God’s commands and covenant
- they worshiped stars
- they worshiped Baal
- they sacrificed their children
- they practiced divination
- they sought omens (enchantments or magic spells)
Judgment and Punishment
After centuries of disobeying God and rejecting him, judgment and punishment finally falls on them. The Assyrians invade Israel and plunder the land. They exile most of the people. The nation of Israel is no more. Only the tribe of Judah remains.
You’d think the people of Judah would see this and learn what will happen if they don’t give God their all. His warnings of judgment and punishment are for real. The prophets’ warnings aren’t empty words.
And for a while, the people of Judah do avoid God’s judgment and punishment. Yet they continue in the same cycle of turning from God and facing difficulties. Then repenting and embracing him—for a while.
Just as the prophets warned, judgment and punishment will come upon the people of Judah too. Babylon will conquer them and disperse them. They’ll get a seventy-year timeout, scattered throughout the nation of Babylon. But then a remnant of the people will return, and they’ll get another chance.Thank God for second chances. Click To Tweet
Thank God for second chances. Thank God for delaying judgment and punishment to give us every opportunity to turn to him and put him first.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.