9 By this [zo'th] therefore shall the
iniquity [`avon] of Jacob [Ya`aqob] be purged [kaphar]; and
this is all the fruit [p@riy] to take away [cuwr] his sin [chatta'ah]; when
he maketh [suwm] all the stones ['eben] of the altar [mizbeach] as
chalkstones [gir] that are beaten in sunder [naphats], the groves ['asherah] and
images [chamman] shall not stand up [quwm]. KJV-Interlinear
by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit
of the removal of his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones
crushed to pieces, no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing. ESV
By this, is a referral to the policy of God in His restraint on punishments toward His people. This is not discussing the punishments of unbelievers, nor a salvation passage, but a verse that is discussing the punishments of believers, and the resultant fruit, or good that comes out of that form of adversity.
The subject in this passage is of Gods discipline, the sin of believers in general, and the sins of the Jewish people in particular.
In life there are two types of fruit, good fruit and bad fruit. The bad fruit is the wood, hay and stubble, or works of the carnal life. The good fruit is the gold, silver, and precious stones production of the spiritual life.
In life there is also a definite contrast between having a plush or good life, versus having a difficult life.
And if you have a good life, then the danger there is in forgetting God, or deciding that you don’t need God, in which case you lose both in life and in eternal reward.
And if you have a life filled with difficulties, real difficulties, then you can become bitter and lose, or you can recognize that God is helping you remember your human flaws and weaknesses. And this is the objective of suffering for blessing.
We all suffer, but the difference is in how we deal with it.
So, God disciplines or allows suffering for two reasons. The first is to resolve some indiscretion in your life and to get you back on track. The second is to serve you a reminder, not that you did anything wrong, but that you still need to remember the realities of life.
So, you can receive suffering for correction, but also you can receive suffering for blessing.
And this is the abundant fruit point being made in this verse. God brings you through a variety of troubles, so that you will return, or remain, on track within your spiritual life, and have a productive spiritual life.
The alter of chalkstones, are stones that are easy to break or crumble, and the groves and images are also references to your non-spiritual patterns of life, that might be an enticement but certainly a distraction away from your true spiritual life.
The pattern of life you choose, no matter what it is, becomes your alter of worship or pursuit. It is your chosen pursuit based on the visual or pleasurable (images and groves) components of life.
The non-spiritual life is a false life, is a temporary life, and will easily fall apart. And, it leads to nothing good.
The false life is not efficacious, never satisfying, and never promotes or advances your life even a single bit.
So, reminders are often times required in order to help prevent you from falling completely off the right path and losing out on life altogether.
If you are smart, then you take the hints of life and you get yourself back on track in your spiritual life, where the real production (fruit) of life occurs. And that leads to the completion and fulfillment of the meaning and purpose and destiny of your life.