Correction, Not Abandonment

“I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.”Psalm 118:17-18

Having been raised in a very traditional, works-for-salvation environment, it is natural for me to see personal trials as some kind of evidence that God has left me. During those times in my life when God seems farthest away, I just naturally tend to think that it is God who has stepped away from me because of my failings and sin, rather than seeing it as me who has wandered. Intellectually, I know this is not right, but emotionally, it is the way I lean.

If the Old Testament teaches me anything, it should be the concept that God does not easily leave his children. The sin of the Israelites was both grievous and repeated, and yet God continued to stick with them, according to His covenant. It was not a matter of Him abandoning them to allow hard times to overtake them, but rather, it was God who sent those persecutions to the people in order to shake them and bring them back to the knowledge of Him. Is it any different today? I don't think so.

These verses in the Psalms remind me that God can bring correction to my life, but as a child of His covenant, He will not give me over to death. God pursues His children who stray, though they may have to endure trials and hardship. But such persecution is meant to drive His chosen back to His arms.


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