7 Hath he
smitten [nakah] him, as he smote [makkah]
those that smote [nakah] him? or is he slain [harag] according to the slaughter [hereg] of them that are slain [harag] by him? KJV-Interlinear
7 Has he
struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or have they been slain as
their slayers were slain? ESV
The question is, ‘Has God disciplined His own people, as harshly as their enemies have punished them?’
And the second question, ‘Has God disciplined as harshly as He has allowed others to punish them.’ The key word in this second phrase is, allowed.
And this brings out the principle of allowing evil to punish evil.
Jesus Christ controls history. He does so in three ways.
The first way is directly. God created the universe. God creates life.
The second way of control is indirect, wherein God allows the volition of man to guide his destiny through doctrine, through the laws of divine establishment and so forth. Man learns right from wrong, doctrine from the false, and conducts himself accordingly. Man learns the principles of establishment and lives his life accordingly. Man chooses. Man marries. Man raises a family. Man establishes communities and nations and enterprise and armies for defense and so forth.
And the third way that God controls history is to allow the free will of man to run in its own direction. Evil inevitably grows and therefore evil is allowed to compete with and punish evil. One nation goes bad and another nation goes bad and they go to war and they settle things in a conflict of their choosing. And this third principle is in view here.
But the question raised is, does God punish as harshly as do the punishments of others?
And the answer is, no.
God shows compassion, fairness and there is a resolution.
It is far better to have God punish you, than to allow people to punish you.
People are harsh, unforgiving and tend to punish far beyond that which is necessary. Human punishment tends to be filled with harsh bias, prejudice, hate, vindictiveness, desire and so forth. History is filled with examples of phenomenal inhuman treatment of people against people.
Even in the gossip world, the punishments inflicted are used to totally destroy someone, and even and especially when there is no need. These things are driven by arrogance and jealousy and inordinate competition. The idea is to promote oneself, at the expense of another.
One of the worst things that has come out of the internet is the social media, where nearly anyone can tear down someone else with little or no factual basis. A mere comment can become disastrous to someone. And there is virtually no way to control the abuse.
But God punishes with compassion. God punishes with the objective of bringing someone around to the truth and the knowledge of the error of their ways. God punishes to improve. Man punishes to destroy.