Isaiah 54:7-8 (NIV)
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
This expression of compassion with a promise was from the Lord to His people Israel when they were in the Babylonian Captivity. God’s abandonment was a form of discipline that God promised His people would happen when they forsook Him and followed foreign gods and idols etc. (see Deut. 30:1-20—good stuff!). The purpose of this compassionate discipline was to help Israel realize their sin and turn back to God, which was in their best interest. This same compassionate discipline is prescribed for us as Christ-followers as well in Hebrews 12:4-12. It would be worth your time to look it up. In our “modern culture” we shy away from discipline (because it can hurt) and don't usually relate it to compassion. We need to realize God loves us too much to let us be destroyed by our own sinful choices, and in His compassion will use whatever measures He deems best to get us back where we need to be! We sometimes talk about tough love; in this case we see tough compassion in action to “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11). When we try to avoid discipline, which is a trait of our fallen nature, we can miss a good work God is trying to do in our life to bring us closer to Him and make us more Christ-like.
Have you avoided God’s discipline in the past or are you trying to right now? Can you think about a time when sin brought unwanted consequences into your life?