Although God takes no pleasure in allowing or sending troubles upon people, there are times when it is necessary.  We know from Scripture that He sometimes sends trials upon people when they are in willful disobedience.  From Hebrews 12:5-6, we are told, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;  For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”  So, God may send trouble upon those whom He is trying to correct, just as a loving father or mother might correct their children, not because they desire to bring pain upon their children, but rather because they understand that failure to correct their children will result in worse trouble down the road.  I do not need to tell you that an undisciplined child will grow up into an unruly adult, who will constantly be in trouble.  So the early lessons on a child will spare so much greater trouble later in life. 

God also sends trouble upon nations when they defy Him and willfully go down a path of wickedness.  For instance, He had to correct the Israelites numerous times when they turned from Him.  In Leviticus 26:14-16, God warns the nation of Israel exactly what He will do if they turn from Him, “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments,  and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you:  I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.  And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”  Moreover, in Isaiah 60:12, we are warned that any nation which does not serve God can expect His judgment:  “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined.”  Also, in Zephaniah 3:6, we see that, when God punishes some nations, His punishment is so complete that such a nation will become desolate:  “I have cut off nations, their fortresses are devastated; I have made their streets desolate, with none passing by.  Their cities are destroyed; there is no one, no inhabitant.” 

Just as God must punish nations to correct them, so must he also punish individual people to try to put them back on the right path.  Of course, I don’t need to tell you that some people simply don’t listen when God is trying to correct them;  they simply harden their hearts.  In Revelation, as God sends great plagues upon the earth to turn people from their wicked path, many, instead, refuse to turn, being so committed to their willful path of wickedness: “And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great” (Revelation 16:21).  Of course, I don’t need to tell you that such willful sin is not peculiar to this period of human history.  We probably all know someone who is in willful sin.  Their lives can be a total mess.  Yet, instead of recognizing that they are on the wrong path and that they are bringing hardship upon themselves, they never seem to “see the light.”  For those of us who may know or be related to such people, it may bring grief to our hearts to see them in such a state, knowing that their lives can be so much better if they will turn back to God.  But such people many times are not in a receptive state to our reasoning and pleading.  All we can do in such times is to pray continuously for their deliverance and trust God for the result.  In such times, we need to always remember that certain things are impossible for men, “but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

If you have a friend or loved one in willful disobedience or rebellion against God, I pray that you will be strengthened and comforted by His Spirit so that you can fight the spiritual battle of prayer on their behalf.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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