Jeremiah 44:4-5 “Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.”
The mercy of God through the preaching of His Word must never be ignored if we don't want to face chastening for our sins. God gave Israel plenty of opportunities to get right with Him, but they refused to listen or repent. God said He sent His servants the prophets, but they would not listen or turn from their wickedness. Because Israel refused to listen to the prophets, God was forced to judge His people.
God is not a God who desires to chasten His children, but He is a merciful God who gives plenty of opportunities to get right before He chastens them. The fact that God would chasten you to bring you back to Him shows His love for you and His desire to have sweet fellowship with you. Sadly, many believers ignore God’s opportunities, which results in them facing His chastening. Let me point out several thoughts about the opportunities God gives you to do the right thing.
First, God does chasten His children. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth…” To think that God will not chasten you because we are under grace is not Scriptural. The grace of God may have saved you, but there are still consequences to sin. You cannot live any way that you want and think that God is going to turn His head away from your sin. God does chasten His children even after they are saved. Just look at the churches in the book of Revelation to see how God chastens those who do wrong. God chastened David, Jonah, Samson, Saul, Ananias and Sapphira, and Peter; thinking that God is going to be different with you is foolish thinking. It is God’s love that causes Him to punish His children because He desires to bless them and to have fellowship with them.
Second, every time you hear a sermon is another opportunity God is giving you to do the right thing. To sit in church and ignore the preaching because you have already chosen what you are going to do your own thing is to choose to thumb your nose at God. The sermons you hear your pastor preach are not just mere words, but they are God’s admonition to you so that you will become what He wants you to become. How many times has your preacher said something against what you are doing and you have continued to do what you are doing? You have no excuse. God holds you accountable for every time you have heard the truth through the preaching of His Word.
Third, you make a choice every time you hear the preaching of the Word of God. Every sermon preached demands a response, and no response to a sermon is a response not to do what God wants you to do. You are making a choice every time the invitation is given. The question I ask you is this, what decision are you making? If you don't respond, you are making a choice not to do right and refusing another opportunity from God to change before He chastens you. My friend, you have had plenty of opportunities to do right. Don't get upset with God when He chastens you; you had the opportunity to turn things around when you heard the plethora of sermons preached. Instead of refusing to get right, comply with the Holy Spirit and do what is right so you can enjoy the fellowship with God as He so desires to have with you.