Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart! — Jeremiah 4:18
The Bible addresses consequences of wrong actions in many places, particularly through the prophets in the Old Testament. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God was talking of a time when much of the nation of Israel had been taken captive and removed from their land by their enemy into exile. They couldn't believe it would ever happen to them. Some of their false prophets said that nothing like that would ever happen, speaking phrases like, "Peace, peace," but there was no peace. Their beloved Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonians, and the city and the Temple were under siege.
The Bible also declares in many of the Psalms that "the LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love" (Psalm 103:8) and that is absolutely true. But do you know there comes a time when God will act with finality against sin and rebellion, and those committing it will suffer the consequences, some more serious than others? It's not that He doesn't love us, but it's in His love that He finds it necessary to correct us and to save us from even more serious consequences.
Here's an interesting illustration that some of us may relate to regarding a speeding ticket. Suppose you were ticketed for driving just 46.5 mph in a 30-mph zone. How large a fine would you expect to pay? $25? $50? $75? $150? Well, how about $103,000?
That's the fine slapped on a Finnish businessman for driving 16.5 miles above the limit. In Finland, traffic fines are linked to income, and since the businessman was a Nokia senior executive with a multi-million-dollar annual income, he was fined accordingly. But don't rush to write a check to help him pay, because some Finnish Parliament members who wanted the law amended already did, and a court reduced his fine to just $5,245 — or a mere $317.87 for each mile he drove above the speed limit.
So when we receive punishment for our wrong conduct and actions, and our heart is pierced with sorrow and repentance, the best thing to do is to thank God for his love for us in getting our attention and, as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, "Go and sin no more."
Thank you, Jesus. That's always good counsel.