Psalm 89:30-45

30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they [u]violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
34 “My covenant I will not [v]violate,
Nor will I alter [w]the utterance of My lips.
35 [x]Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 “His [y]descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
37 “It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.” [z]Selah.

38 But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath [aa]against Your anointed.
39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown [ab]in the dust.
40 You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.
44 You have made his [ac]splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame. Selah.

We turn from “special treatment” to, well, actually more “special treatment”. No, it sure doesn’t seem like it. In the last passage, we saw all the great things God was going to do for David and his descendants, but v. 30 begins the list of what happens if those descendants forsake God. Would he continue to exalt them and protect them. Would God give his strength to those who turn their backs on Him?

The answer seems pretty clear, especially as we look at vv. 38-45: God has rejected them, is full of wrath, has thrown their crown in the dust, blunted his sword, etc. However, back up to vv. 32-33. God will punish their transgression with the rod, but will not break of his lovingkindness and faithfulness.

That seems kind of weird! After all, if you’re hitting someone with a rod, it doesn’t seem like you love them very much. Yet this is discipline and not a “final” judgment. Before they had kings, Israel failed, and they were punished, and they returned.

The goal of God’s discipline was (and is) to help them see the error of their ways, so they can turn back and do it right. It was never, “Ugh, I’m done with these losers, they just can’t figure it out! So bam, here’s a whack on the head, now get lost!” The same applies today, because God doesn’t change, and seemingly neither do we.

We still mess up, and we still need God’s discipline to set us straight. Elsewhere the Bible tells us “God disciplines those He loves.” If He didn’t discipline us, what would that say? And yet He does, with incredible patience, faithfulness, and yes, even love. It won’t be fun, but don’t be tone deaf. Listen and look for the lessons God is trying to teach you, learn from Him, and walk in His ways.

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