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Chastening or Punishment (Leviticus 26:24, 28)

Introductory Thoughts

The words chastening and punishment are like many Bible words that share an overlapping meaning but also exhibit certain variants. A Bible-believer always trusts that God carefully chose His words to accomplish His expressed purpose in any given passage. On the surface, it would seem like the words punish (Leviticus 26:24) and chastise (Leviticus 26:28) seem completely interchangeable, but a thorough study of the whole counsel of God reveals distinctions. One area in which there appears to be a distinction involves the intended purpose of execution. Punishment is the infliction of judgment for the sake of justice, while chastening is the application of judgment for the sake of correction.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): The thieves crucified on either side of Jesus were being justly punished (Luke 23:39-41). Jonah wanted the Ninevites destroyed. Read what God used to chastise Jonah and what He said to correct Jonahs wrong attitude (see Jonah chapter 4).
  • (For everyone): Why is it important for Bible students to study any differences that may exist between the words punish and chastise? Do you currently know of any differences that exist?
  • Why does God punish? Why does He chasten? Why should believers want to know the purpose of each? How can that information make us better Christians?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask God to teach you the meaning and purpose of chastening.
  • Ask the Lord to help you do right at all times.