When a child misbehaves and acts inappropriately or badly, this is what a father or mother does:
Instructions: He sits the child down, looks him straight in the eye, and says, “You’ve been bad. This is what I expect of you, but you didn’t do it.” Then he details the expectation and the transgression.
Consequences of Disobedience: “Next time you do these things, this is what I’m going to do to you.” Then he details the consequences of misbehaving, and the severe punishments that will follow.
The Choice: “Now you have a choice. You can either be good or I will punish you. Which will it be? What’s your choice?” The child normally answers, “I’ll be good.”
The Promise of Redemption: Finally the parent closes the dialog, “OK. Now remember what I just told you, don’t do it again, go, and be good! I love you.”
Final Reminder: “But don’t forget I mean business!” are the parting words of the scolding as the child runs off.
This is exactly what we find in The Torah, as The LORD addresses His people Israel.
All the following words are God’s, not mine:
I will be your God, and you shall be my people. (Lev 26:12) (Also Exo 6:7, 22:31)
Listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, … and keep all his statutes (Exo 15:26)
You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with as the native … you shall love him as yourself (Lev 19:34) (Also Exo 22:211, Lev 19:33, 20:2, 24:22, Num 15:15, Deu 10:17-19, 14:29, 16:11, 27:19)
Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land … you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God … lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land … and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods. (Exo 34:11-16) (Also Exo 23:13, Lev 20:2-8, 20:22)
Consecrate yourselves … be holy … keep my statutes and do them …keep all my statutes … that the land … may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out … (Lev 20:2-8)
When the LORD your God brings you into the land … and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. (Deu 7:1-4)
You are a people holy to the LORD your God. … God has chosen you … because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers … the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments … repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. … be careful to do the commandment and the statutes (Deu 7:6-11)
This day you have become the people of the LORD your God … obey … the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes (Deu 27:9-10)
Consequences of disobedience
But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God … The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds … (Deu 28:15-24)
The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. … Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless. A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see. (Deu 28:25-34)
The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away. … You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity. (Deu 28:36-42)
The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. (Deu 28:43-44)
“They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. … and you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters … the most tender and refined woman among you … will begrudge … her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet … because lacking everything she will eat them secretly (Deu 48-57)
The LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sickness grievous and lasting. (Deu 28:58 – 61)
Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number … And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. … And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no respite … Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. (Deu 28:61-68)
They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, (Deu 28:46-47)
I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. … obey the commandments of the LORD your God … by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes … But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, … you shall surely perish. (Deu 30:15-18)
The Promise of Redemption
And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, … and return to the LORD your God … obey his voice … with all your heart and with all your soul … God … will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. (Deu 30:1-4)
I … proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But … you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live. (Exo 38:1)
“Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.
Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
“Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. (Deu 9:4-6)
The LORD, our perfect Father in Heaven, sets the perfect example and model for all parents to follow in raising their children. The LORD, our perfect Father in Heaven, treats the nation of Israel as his child, and in the process establishes the expectation he has for every nation. How do we measure up? Is America about to be scolded?
All is not as it looks