“My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father¬†corrects¬†the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;¬†FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.¬†It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?¬†But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:4-8
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” Rev 3:19
It is amazing to see how many scriptures refer to the discipline of the Lord. These are only three amidst many. It is also interesting to note how the thread runs throughout scripture and in each case it is addressed to sons even though one was written from Solomon to his son, another to the Hebrew Christians, and another to the church of Laodicea. The overarching theme is that God disciplines His children and if a “child” does not receive discipline then that child is not really a child of God, but is “illegitimate”.¬†
When addressing the religious leaders of His day, Jesus, in John chapter 8:37-47, calls them the seed of Satan. He says, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” He also says in verse 47 “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
I find this remarkable in that they were Abraham’s descendants and yet they were of their father the devil. I believe this is because, as Paul stated in Romans 9:6-7 “not all Israel are Israel” and “nor are they children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, In Isaac your seed shall be called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God…”
So God being the perfect Father knows how to perfectly discipline and guide those that are His. He does not discipline those that are not His sheep. They do not hear his voice or know him. Many claim to know Him and in the day they stand before Him they may say “we knew you”, and in return Jesus will say “I never knew you”. Along with this I remember how Jesus told the religious leaders in John 5 “you search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
They were not willing because they were not His. We may grow up reading the scriptures all our life but not only must we hear, read, and know the Word of God, but we must also be awakened to it. Our spiritual eyes which have been blinded must be opened by the power of God (the Holy Spirit) so that we can understand. For the natural man does not understand the things of God because they are spiritually discerned, indeed, they are foolishness to him (I Cor 2… I think).¬†
So what great mercy God displays to us when he awakens our hearts, opens our eyes, and enlightens our minds to His salvation which is before us. So as mankind, throughout history has displayed this moral or spiritual inability to incline their hearts to God, He has shown great mercy and generosity to us that we may see and taste and have life… and that more abundantly.
While going through life and experiencing hardship/trials, persecutions, and discipline… it can make one wonder which it is… for God uses all of them and all things to conform us to the image of His Son Jesus. In the midst of all three though the response is the same. A wholehearted trust and devotion to God and seeking His will in our life, along with growing in His grace and knowledge. Through the difficult times it seems we grow the most and the roots are the strongest… able to endure the erosion of the years, able to endure amidst future droughts, and able to endure violent storms.
I am hesitant to say it, but I believe God will honor it still. I remember praying years ago that as God disciplines me, and as He brings trials in my life, as I know that He will… I ask that I can learn the easy way and not the hard way. I ask that I will be a child with a soft heart that can learn with a glance of His eyes and not with a backhand to the bum. I believe that He has answered that prayer and that He is able to conform us in numerous ways according to the unsearchable wisdom of His mind. Ways which are different for each individual according to the mercy and grace granted to them. It may involve the same internal struggle and emotions but not necessarily the external circumstance. Some people may be agonizing in their body to bring their spirit to where God wants it while others may agonize in their spirit only. It is not a difficult thing for God to conform us… it is difficult, most of the time (it seems) for us to receive it. May we receive it (the process) with a cheerful readiness.
So whether we experience good times or difficult times (in the flesh), may we always submit the lesser loves to the greatest Love, and put away anything that might raise itself up in our minds in the place of God. As Corrie Ten Boom talked about not holding too tightly anything of this world because then God prys it from our fingers, I think we must hold alone to Him tightly for then we can endure all things. When He sees us holding other things so tightly He knows we cannot endure whilst holding those things. Being the Perfect Parent that He is, He does what good parents do. In fact, there is no one good but God.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11. I like the exclamation point.