Psalms 89:30-33 –
“If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
There are safe people in the world and unsafe people in the world. Sometimes a person in the safe category will harm us (whether intentionally or unintentionally) and we make a decision that in order to protect ourselves we need to move them to the unsafe category to make sure there is enough protective space to prevent ourselves from being damaged again.
What I love about this passage is that God is acknowledging the harm that is done to Himself. Instead of withdrawing, He applies a proper disciplinary action: ‘what you did to me was not OK, and here are the consequences.’ God then lets us know that He hasn’t abandoned us, and that He still offers us a place in His safe category. God has set us an amazing pattern of boundaries and reconciliation*.
*This isn’t to say God doesn’t remove himself from abusive situations: He kicked Lucifer out of heaven, permanently removed people who were being a bad influence in his Israelite family, and then divorced Israel when it abandoned Him. God’s character is love, but that doesn’t make Him a pushover or codependent. Yet in dealing with humanity God has made Himself very, very vulnerable. I don’t think any of us fully realizes how painful it is to be God.