God does not punish, nor does He intervene. He just gives kindly advice, and then allows each person to make decisions with their free will. Through the consequences (good or bad), the person then learns lessons and gains recognition of how to properly adjust to His Will.
Imagine the following: A parent cautions their child only to drink clean water and never drink oil, because it will make them sick. Ignoring the admonition, the child sneaks off and drinks a sip of oil. The first time it does not get sick, but only feels a little queasy in the stomach. Emboldened by this transgression, it then drinks a big glass of oil the next day. Soon afterward, it falls gravely ill and needs to be hospitalized. While vomiting and convulsing in the intensive care unit, the child ignorantly considers the agony of its sickness “punishment”. Believing the parent wrathfully struck him with the terrible sickness to “teach him a lesson”. Meanwhile, the parent did none of that, for all the child is experiencing is simply the natural unalterable consequence on the body of drinking oil! There is no punishment, only the natural laws taking effect.
Through the sickness, the child is forced to recognize the wisdom of its parent’s initial warning. And from this recognition blossoms the willingness to comply.
Here the oil represents impure thoughts, the child represents human beings, and the parent represents the Almighty.
In small doses, nothing will seem to happen. But soon enough the soul will be completely poisoned and breakdown in agony. When that hour comes, calling the inevitable suffering punishment by God is as ridiculous as the child calling it’s sickness an act of vengeance by its parent.
Thus, the Almighty does not punish. He just allows the immutable Natural Laws He programmed into the Universe to pursue its course for every action. The effect of this immutable process is what the human spirit classifies as “reward” or “punishment”.
Ikenna Q. Ezealah