In a time of suffering, one asks, “Why?” Even without thinking, that question rolls off our burdened minds? Generally, we ask because we believe that the answer will contain some self-justification. We’ll be shown to be in the right, and there’s something comforting about being an “innocent victim”. We feel vindicated.
So imagine the shock of this abrupt sentence:
24 Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt? It was the Lord, against whom we sinned, for the people would not walk in his path, nor would they obey his law.
We get the sense sometimes that ancient Israel felt privileged. God was FOR THEM. What a powerful ally to have! And that impression made it easy to watch opposing nations suffer at His hand. In fact, one likely prayed for such events, that God would use His power to smooth Israel’s path against their enemies. And often He did.
But the wheels fell off the logical wagon when Israel found itself in dire straits. Why could this possibly be happening? Who would allow such a thing to happen?
The answer: God Himself.
I’d advise against going out and building a whole theology of any sort around this verse. But do take it for what it is.
God is serious about His covenant with His people. He expects them to be the same. And He certainly has higher priorities than cushioning us unfairly, should we set out on our own paths.
He is working to make us His, and He has a complete arsenal of ways to work toward that goal.