Under the old covenant, we also find that God frequently disciplined His people by permitting troubles such as famines or foreign enemies to dominate them. Eventually they would repent and He would deliver them from their enemies. When they refused to repent after years of oppression and warnings, God ultimately permitted a foreign power to completely overcome them and deport them from their land as exiles.
Under the new covenant, it is certainly possible that God might discipline His disobedient children by permitting troubles in their lives. Or He may permit their enemies to afflict them. For example, the scripture quoted at the start of this chapter about God’s discipline (Heb. 12:3-13), is found within the context of Hebrew believers who were being persecuted for their faith. Not all persecution, however, is permitted because of disobedience. Every case must be judged separately.