2 Chr. 36:15-16
The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.
Dad was always giving advice and instruction, but his little boy had grown up and started to think more independently by the day. The son who had listened and taken his words to heart now just ignored them. He was younger, and the times had changed, and he simply thought he knew better. Dad watched his boy make bad decisions in relationships, in morality and in finances. Each time, dad was there to mend his wounds and fix things once they turned sour. Eventually, the lessons were not learned, and the behavior only worsened. Dad had to decide that love meant taking a step back and allowing real consequences to do their work in that young man.
You have heard it said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This is probably most true when it comes to personal history. We serve a loving and forgiving God, but we also serve a just God who knows what we need for correction. There is a spiritual model of repentance that indicates a person truly has repented. Outside of that model we see those who are merely sorry about the consequences they bring upon themselves but do not necessarily desire to change their behavior. When the heart is not truly repentant but really desires not to heed the Lord’s counsel, we ask God to remove his hand of mercy and invite the bad fruit of bad decisions to manifest in our lives.
We cannot expect to ignore the instruction and counsel of the Lord without suffering consequences for that disregard. This is particularly true when we ignore the same counsel repeatedly. At some point, the only option is to let us learn by suffering from the things which our sin produces in our lives. If living under God’s hand of mercy does not open our eyes to our state, that hand may be lifted out of love so that we may be brought to repentance. If given the option, I think we all would prefer to learn under grace with a sincere desire to change. Father, forgive us for disregarding your counsel, and give us sincerely repentant hearts when we fall short.