I don’t have kids, but I have been one long enough to understand the idea of parentally enforced consequences.
A parent, often in the hopes of correcting bad behavior in their child, will use negative re-enforcement to teach that something is bad.
Maybe it’s taking away toys, sitting them down for an age relevant lecture, spanking, or some other form of punishment like eating more vegetables than normal (Eww!!!).
Opening the Bible to almost any page of the Old Testament, it is no secret that God is familiar with enforcing negative consequences for bad behavior.
So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.
So yeah, you get the point.
When God wants to teach someone a lesson or correct bad behavior, and people don’t respond to either wisdom or warnings, God will often do whatever it takes to reach them.
In learning their lessons, I know people who have had money slip through their fingers because it came between them and God. Other people I know have lost their looks, or been humbled in some other way.
God sets a good example as a parent, friend, co-worker, etc… by presenting negative consequences for negative behavior.
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Imagine raising a child that you loved and cared for from the day it was born, then one day have them rise up in disobedience or venture down destructive paths–what kind of parent would not want their child to return to healthy living?
There have been times where I knew I was doing the wrong thing, and I knew God well enough to know there would be punishment–I was afraid of what would come as a result! But what I learned, is that if I walk in ways that I know are good in the eyes of God, I have nothing to be afraid of.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.