Punished to Preserve

As all the good things have come upon you which the Lord your God promised you, so the Lord will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”—Joshua 23:15 (NKJV) 

Yesterday we looked at God’s track record of faithfulness towards Israel. Every word that He pronounced was perfectly fulfilled, just as He said . . . so much so that no living soul in all of Israel could argue against this. If anything was certain, it’s that the Lord makes good on His good promises!

But today, we’re going to see that this track record of faithfulness extends beyond the good things in life. There’s another side to God’s faithful nature. For just as God is reliable to bless His people, He is just as reliable when it comes to correcting and punishing them.

This was the dynamic Joshua wanted his people to understand; their behavior in the Promised Land would bring powerful results one way or the other. Just as obedience to the Lord resulted in blessing, disobedience would end in judgment. Their God would not look the other way as His people pursued a path of sin and idolatry . . . He would decisively and faithfully punish them.

When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.”—Joshua 23:16 (NKJV)

Sadly, this is precisely what happened as God’s people progressively turned from Him, were captured, and eventually exiled from their land of promise. God was true to His word, even when it came to judging Israel’s sin.

Why does God do this? Because He is a Father, and a faithful father will punish His children for the sake of saving them. Left to their own sin, Israel would be consumed by it. But God punished His people to preserve a remnant—a remnant that survives to this day and which will factor mightily in the final days (Romans 11).  

He is the same faithful Father for everyone who has put their faith in His Son, Jesus. Although our place in His kingdom has been secured by His work on our behalf, we’re still open to His corrective touch, because that’s what faithfulness looks like in the presence of sin. But bear in mind, our Father always punishes to preserve the good work He has begun and will complete in us.

For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”—Hebrews 12:6 (NLT)

DIG: What does God’s faithfulness look like in the presence of sin?  

DISCOVER: Why was it so important for Joshua to address this? How have you seen this principle play out in your own life?

DO: Spend time today considering the lessons you’ve learned about God’s faithfulness in the face of your sinfulness and what this understanding has revealed about God’s heart towards you.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.