Whether two- or ninety-two-years-old, most of us have a natural aversion to discipline. We don't like to be wrong. We prefer to be our own boss. And that's fine…as long as our choices and actions are in line with the ultimate Set of Rules.
You see, God's perspective on discipline is much different than ours:
“ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. ” Proverbs 3:11-12
Because of the LORD's great love, His people were carefully instructed regarding how to worship Him, “that it might go well” with them [Deut. 4:40, 12:25, 28]. God's people were also given along with clear directions regarding repentance—the returning after disobeying or walking their own ways.
The Ultimate Consequence.
After giving instructions, again because of His great love, the LORD clearly outlined consequences for disobedience of His standard. Among these was an ultimatum correction, a “consequence of consequences,” in the event that the people should continually disobey and disregard the LORD's persistent call to return. He says,
“I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32:4
“ Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. ” Nehemiah 1:8-10
So what was the ultimate consequence to God's people? Simply put, it was exile…the loss of the beloved Promised Land…a scattering all over the world. Nehemiah, however, brings our attention to an important promise that directly accompanies exile: the promise of regathering. But this promise was around long before Nehemiah's time…