“And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.” -1 Kings 11:39
In the family of grace there is discipline, and that discipline is severe enough to make it an evil and a bitter thing to sin. Solomon, turned aside by his foreign wives, had set up other gods and grievously provoked the God of his father; therefore, ten parts out of twelve of the kingdom were rent away and set up as a rival state. This was a sore affliction to the house of David, and it came upon that dynasty distinctly from the hand of God, as the result of unholy conduct. The Lord will chasten His best beloved servants if they cease from full obedience to His laws: perhaps at this very hour such chastening is upon us. Let us humbly cry, “O Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”
What a sweet saving clause is that—”but not for ever”! The punishment of sin is everlasting, but the fatherly chastisement of it in a child of God is but for a season. The sickness, the poverty, the depression of spirit, will pass away when they have had their intended effect. Remember, we are not under law but under grace. The rod may make us smart, but the sword shall not make us die. Our present grief is meant to bring us to repentance that we may not be destroyed with the wicked.
[from Faith’s Checkbook by Charles H. Spurgeon]