Deuteronomy 32:15-27

15 “But [d]Jeshurun grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.
16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.
18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

19 “The Lord saw this, and spurned them
Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
20 “Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end shall be;
For they are a perverse generation,
Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their [e]idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
22 For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And burns to the lowest part of [f]Sheol,
And consumes the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

23 ‘I will heap misfortunes on them;
I will use My arrows on them.
24 They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by [g]plague
And bitter destruction;
And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them,
With the venom of crawling things of the dust.
25 ‘Outside the sword will bereave,
And inside terror—
Both young man and virgin,
The nursling with the man of gray hair.
26 ‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces,
I will remove the memory of them from men,”
27 Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy,
That their adversaries would misjudge,
That they would say, “Our hand is [h]triumphant,
And the Lord has not done all this.”’

In light of what we saw yesterday, it is somewhat incredible what follows next, but it isn’t just a made-up story. This is a foretelling of what will happen (even if that isn’t the intent).

But it has a surprise twist when God says, ‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces…”‘ God is talking about his own chosen people here, not some pagan nation. But he holds back, which is something seen later in the Israelite story. God shows incredible mercy, sparing them the full judgment that they deserved.

And not just to the Israelites, He shows incredible mercy on us still today, every day. When was the last time you heard of God striking someone dead in their sin? Right, you haven’t, because even though God is righteous and pure, He is love and that results in mercy being poured out, even on the most undeserving.

For God is not willing that any should perish, but that we should repent and turn to Him. That is goal #1, that we should be restored to the Father. Everything else is secondary, above all else on this world, God wants to bring us back to the way we were meant to be, in a right relationship to Him.

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